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ImageBirthdays were special occasions in my childhood home. They weren’t ridiculously special. We didn’t rent party tents, small ponies or clowns. They were simple and memorable.

There were extra gestures of love. Acknowledgments of your birthday in the first moments of the day. Mom made your favorite dinner and dessert, followed by the opening of a card and presents. Joyful discussion ensued about the selection process while you tried it out or on. Usually, it was just my mom, dad, brother and me. Sometimes, if my birthday landed on a weekend, I invited a friend over.

I think the tone of your childhood birthdays sets your attitude about birthdays for life. Cause I still like ‘em. Admittedly, I also like stretching them out into a full weekend of birthday moments.

This year was fun. Still no tents or small ponies. Just simple celebrations. Dinner one night with my husband and friends at a local brew pub. Dinner the next night with both of my grown children and their significants (which isn’t always easy to pull off). And a happy hour after work with my coworkers where we laughed about which celebrities we share birthdays with (mine were not impressive).

One of our work culture traditions is to celebrate birthdays in whatever way the birthday person finds meaningful. I told them I’d like a book or blog title from each person with a statement about why they liked it. I wanted to learn more about their interests and break out of my usual genre choices. Many offered more than one choice so I now have a full reading list. It’ll be like opening birthday gifts all year and I’m looking forward to trading opinions with those who made the recommendations.

Simple celebrations. Simple gestures. Simple gifts.

Pure joy.