My daughter loves birthdays. Ever since her birthday more than six months ago, she has been singing "Happy Birthday" to herself, and anyone else who has a birthday. Well no, actually she sings and makes pretend cakes for anyone she knows. She also loves to talk about birthday parties or other celebrations.
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My family and I did tell her my birthday was coming up last week. Then, on the morning of my special day, I reminded her that it was my birthday. I was a little taken aback when she exclaimed, "Happy birthday, Mommy! I have a card for you at my aunt's house!"
OK, so that was sweet. I doubted she was supposed to tell me that, but it was still cute.
As it happened, my sister was baby-sitting that day. My daughter called me at lunchtime and said, "Mommy, we made you a birthday cake!" Aha, another "surprise" foiled.
When I came to pick up my daughter that evening, she met me carrying a wrapped gift. "This has your shirt in it," she said matter-of-factly.
So there goes the last possible family-planned surprise of my birthday.
Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way. After years of a mundane lifestyle, the feeling of sharing my world with a 2-1/2 year-old who is genuinely excited about so many simple things in life is exhilarating. And I mean that literally.
Some things are easier than others. I am very much looking forward to Christmas, even decorating and baking. I'm not sure I've ever said that as an adult. But, for many people, these are events that elicit much excitement. And for the first time, I can relate. My daughter loves helping, or trying to help, in the kitchen, so I'm sure we will have fun, or at least the making of some good stories, as together we whip up some holiday creations. I expect the same to be true as we get our home ready for the holidays with a tree, lights and other decorations.
I'll be the first to admit I hate snow and, again, I have for my entire adult life. But still, if this turns out to be a mild winter, I will be a bit disappointed. I would love to hear my daughter squeal with delight as we embark on a sledding adventure down the barn bridge on my mother's farm.
My daughter is so excitable she even loves going to the dentist. "I'm getting my teeth done!" she proudly announced prior to her last check-up. While most adults don't relish doing that task, even fewer children likely get excited about it.
I wish I knew how to bottle her enthusiasm so that she would have it when she is older and be able to apply it in many situations. Actually, I wouldn't even mind having some extra for myself, or a little to share with family, friends, co-workers, people on the street, etc.
But because it doesn't work that way, I just enjoy it while it lasts. Enthusiasm is contagious, so maybe we can share it with others that way, too.
There's nothing wrong with being low key. I know this firsthand, but the excitedness of a toddler is great, too, and I'm glad I could experience it on my birthday, and every day.
First-time mother Amy Dulebohn is a page designer and feature writer at The Herald-Mail. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.