Earlier this year, I thought it was time to celebrate a facet of our relationship that we had never done before. Joanne’s birthday. Without her involvement, I decided that the 21st of September was to become her special 3rd birthday.
I’ve attached the photos of before and after opening presents, but they were only for her at the age of three. Each year on the 21st of September will be Joanne’s special day.
I’m sure I hear some of you ask why. Why do this for someone who already has a birthday? Why turn a random day into your child’s birthday? Why not just use their actual birthday and have this side story as well?
To me the answer was simple. Here was my daughter who needed to be acknowledged as my daughter. Not as my husband, play acting as someone else. To be acknowledged. The most obvious first step was to choose a significant milestone, and what better milestone to choose than her birthday?
And so, from this year forward, this will be a day we both recognise and acknowledge Joanne turning three. She will always be turning three, so I will have to be very imaginative with my gifts over the years, but what a great problem to have. It’s not because I have to, but because I choose to.
This was my way of saying, “I see you”, and truly see the little girl. It was my way of identifying her as unique and individual, just as we see those around us as unique and individual. She is different to Michael. She is an individual, with her own ideas, thoughts and characteristics. She is not Michael, she is Joanne.
I’ve found that many adults have unhappy memories of their birthday from over the years. To them this particular day may epitomise all the unhappy and dissatisfied moments of their lives. This day was the day they were born into a dysfunctional or abusive family. There is an old saying, you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. This is a saying full of emotion. We have choices with our friends – who we let into our lives and who we exclude, for whatever reason. The same cannot be said about our family. We have them, whether we want them or not. The good, the bad and the ugly. Every family have some who will fit into each of these categories, but some families have way too many who we would class as “bad” or “ugly”. Joanne doesn’t have these really in her adult family, but maybe you do. Perhaps you would like to have a new birthday that will declare to yourself and those around you who know your other self, that this day will say to the world, I will not be dictated to by my ‘natural’ family. I will be allowed to become the person I should always be.
And so, Joanne and I enjoyed a very special day, just for her. Maybe you should have a new birthday too, just because you can! What a wonderful day to celebrate this part of you that is unique, special and beautiful. What a wonderful way to shake off some old hurtful memories and replace them with joy, laughter and a bright and happy vista.
Here’s to you everyone: Happy Birthday!