Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Happy Birthday to Mommy!"

"Happy Birthday to Mommy" is what Cassie likes to say these days because today is my birthday!  Cassie started getting excited about my birthday last week when she found out it was soon coming up.  I am forty six today, and for the first time ever, i see the true importance of celebrating birthdays because I for the first time, am getting a chance to see them through the eyes of my newly adopted daughter.  A daughter who only recently had the opportunity to celebrate her own birthday, the first birthday ever where she was recognized as an individual who received her very own cake with her very own presents, seated at the head of the table as the guest of honor.

Apparently, in China, the orphanages celebrate all the children's birthdays just one time a year in that they simply do not have enough time or resources to accommodate each child separately, but China as a whole does celebrate birthdays if you belong to a family.   So for Cassie, as with other orphans, she was painfully aware of the reality that she was not like the people living outside the walls of the orphanage.  She was different, less than, less significant.  And her birthday each year was a constant reminder that as an orphan, noone seemed to notice that she was ever born at all.

Below is one of the first pictures where i spotted Cassie and recognized right away her need for her very own birthday cake, and knew that if we could not be there for her on her birthday, we would most assuredly send her a birthday cake and presents just for her.
Cassie is the one to the far left with her body propped up on the table so she could get a better view of the cake.  That picture told me all I needed to know about her great need to be celebrated too.  In the orphanages, when children receive their forever families, that is the first time they can receive their own cake sent by their own forever family.
 As you might recall, Cassie was certainly made to feel special on her birthday this year at the orphanage.  Notice in the next picture who is blowing out the candles.  You would have to know Cassie to know she is just like that....  A VERY SPECIAL little girl!  ALWAYS sharing and letting others participate.

As a child and all through my growing up years, my family mostly did not celebrate birthdays.  I recall only two birthdays where I received a cake, one when i was five and one when i was thirteen.  In the latter, while many family members were seated around me, the guest of honor, at Pizza Hut while singing Happy Birthday, i felt the ritual to be rather odd..... It was embarrassing to me actually.  As with everyone else in my family, I learned that birthdays bore no significance and thus have lived out most of my life with that belief beneath the current of my analytical mind. 

As a matter of fact, in our first year of marriage, i asked Randy what he wanted for his birthday and when he didn't comment, i figured he didn't want anything at all, so not only did i work all day on his birthday while he took the day off, i got him nothing not even a birthday card.  When i called him in the afternoon from work, he barely spoke to me, he was so hurt.  I for the life of me couldn't figure out why. I only knew that I blew it, so after work i ran over to L. S. Ayres and picked out five matching slacks and shirt outfits, had them gift-wrapped and took them home to him later in the evening.  That was one of the most expensive lessons i've ever had to learn and that was, while i didn't see birthdays as necessarily special, perhaps the rest of the world did. 

On Saturday, my husband and two beautiful daughters surprised me with my very own little birthday party.  Just the four of us, and it was SWEET.  With a bouquet of wild flowers, homemade gifts from the girls along with a few strands of licorice, birthday cards and a chocolate cake, we celebrated me and the day i was born forty six years prior.  And Cassie was so pleased for me.  She was so happy to sing Happy Birthday just to me!  And that is when i realized for the first time that birthdays indeed are significant and special and priceless because that is the day we celebrate the birth of those we love.  We celebrate the day our loved ones were born, and it's as if to say, "Glory Halleluiah for your life!  What would we possibly do without YOU?!" 

Happy Birthday to ME!!!!


  1. Happy birthday to you! Hope that your day was awesome! (It sure looks like it, I mean chocolate cake just makes the day doesn't it?)
    I am really glad that Cassie has a wonderful mother now, that she can sing Happy Birthday to, just like Luke! (My mom's birthday was the 11th.)

  2. Thanks for posting this! Happy birthday, I too am so thankful you were born! God is SO good. Fills my heart for Cassie, you, Sonya and Randy .Blessings to all of you!

  3. Happy Birthday Cheryl! You have a beautiful family:) Those girls just keep getting prettier and prettier! Loved this post! Thanks for the reminder that not everyone has had a chance to be celebrated, and to remember to celebrate the life of our loved ones:)

  4. Happy Belated Birthday! These special occasions are so precious to our little ones who have been "denied" these things during their early years. Haleigh loved her first birthday celebration with us. I wish I had sent a cake to the orphanage as a going away party with her friends, but I just didn't think of doing that. Since they didn't give her anything we sent in her care package, it would have been a better idea! I'm glad you had a wonderful celebration with your family. Cassie really is thriving!