I am always confused by the people who post birthday messages to their young kids on Facebook.
You know, the posts like “Happy Birthday to the kindest, smartest, most beautiful, talented and amazing 12-year-old I know. We love you so much!”
These confuse me because the kids who are on the receiving end of these messages are not on Facebook. So these messages really appear to be more of a profession of love and admiration to Facebook friends.
And not to the children themselves.
Today is Number 4’s birthday.
I was telling her this in the car on the way to swim practice today.
How people will post these things on Facebook, but I wondered… Do they actually say these things to their kids on their birthday?
I’m thinking maybe many of us don’t.
I know that my parents never looked me in my eyes on my birthday and told me that I was the most amazing girl they had ever had the pleasure of knowing, and that I was a true gift to them.
So I told Number 4, “You are the smartest, ballsiest, weirdest, most proactive, independent, talented, responsible, and beautiful 12-year-old I know. You make this world a better place. You make my life better, and you make me a better mother and human being.”
She teared up.
So did I.
I hope those words remain with her forever.
I hope the people who post those birthday messages to their kids on Facebook tell them those things to their faces.
So Number 4 and I had a moment in the car.
She really is a gift to me.
All my kids are.
But Number 4 has truly taught me so much about myself.
Your first daughter will do that to you.
If you’ve been around since the beginning, you know Number 4 is a whirlwind. A human tornado. A force to be reckoned with.
She has always kept me on my toes, and she always reminds me that there is joy to be sucked out of every experience, every day, and every minute of your life.
Today as we were talking in the car she said to me, “Mom, having a birthday is kind of depressing.”
“Depressing?” I asked.
“Well, yeah. People are so nice to you on your birthday. They smile really big when they see you and they give you a hug and act happy to see you. But that only happens once a year. Then people go back to being their normal selves who don’t really seem to care about you all that much.”
And there she went again. Teaching me, when I feel like it should be me teaching her.
Maybe we can take a lesson from Number 4.
Why be super nice to the people we care about, to our friends, to our family one day a year?
Maybe the best birthday gift we can give our children is to let them know they are our greatest gifts more often than once every 365 days.
And we can all make sure that those Facebook posts to our kids who aren’t actually on Facebook are things we say directly to their faces on their special day.
I would have loved that birthday gift as a kid.
Happy 12th Birthday to Number 4.
The most amazing 12 year old I know.
I delivered this message directly to her already.
And now I just wanted to deliver it to the rest of the world.