Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Howdy 🙂
So 2 March 2017 denotes Bettunia’s 1st birthday. Wohoo!!! and she showed no sign of interest and enthusiasm whatsoever. While most parents of 1 year olds would go nuts ticking off to-buy list for their little munchkin’s very first birthday party, we, on the other hand, proudly did absolutely nothing…krikkrik. Alhamdulillah, regardless. It didn’t mean we did’t love her nor we didn’t care that she just turned into a fully healthy and happy 1 year old big baby girl. It’s just that birthdays never excite Abe. So I just followed with the flow.
I came from a family who would curse any of us who didn’t wish nor buy a gift for the celebrated person. It was a family tradition. Still is. I remember trying to break it once by not giving my little brother a birthday gift, simply because he didn’t buy me anything for my birthday the year before. So revenge on, right…a year after. I was in my teens and he just came of age. Probably a some kind of identity crisis hit him at that point, not convinced that I was his true blood sister or something, that made he feel exempted from owing me a birthday gift. Pfft.
Anyway, I secretly told Mama of my cunning plan to not buy him any gifts. It did not go so well because in return I received a good lecture (more like a warning) from Mama about to forgive and forget and never do the same to others what I don’t like others to do unto me. Great. Now I felt guilty and inspired. She said something along the line like “Don’t break family traditions that bring good values. At the end of the day, gifts on birthdays is about giving and being kind to others.” It’s true. We should celebrate him/her by forgiving them for all their mistakes and wrongdoings, appreciating the person by giving a present for their presence in our lives. It’s not about believing in birthdays and how it came about in our culture per se. At least, that was my intention. Plus, when there’s a fix date to celebrate a person in whatever form we call it such as birthday, anniversary, commemoration, aqiqah etc. it just makes it easier to remember. Simply a reminder that we could mark in our calendars. Reserve a day to remember that special someone 🙂 That’s why this post is called the Birthday Remembrance instead of Celebration
Still, we didn’t celebrate Bettunia’s birthday. My partner in crime decided to let this day pass like any other days and I understood where he was coming from. I was totally OK. Struggling to make ends meet in the early years of settling down in the city, it wasn’t easy for Daddy to initiate birthday parties because it required quite a bit of spending. Hence his “practicality”and dread for birthdays. But that was 20 some odd years ago. In reverse today, he would shower and spoil his grown up kids and grandkids. Lucky minions.
Nevertheless, in times of meagreness I resisted and persisted. I couldn’t help but being a mom. I wanted to make this day special despite being the minority of caring about Bettunia’s 1st year of life. I cared even if she didn’t care! I wanted to be the one to tell her the story of her first birthday when she grows up and learns about the meanings of life. “It was filled with so much love and gratefulness, baby girl”. I declared a day off school on Bettunia’s birthday so we could have some girl bonding time. We went to some fast food restaurant to buy breakfast meals for her and little cousins as a treat and brought it over to their house. Instead of being stuck with MOM the whole day, at least she could have some play date time with her little cousins and just have fun. That’s her favourite thing to do. Sure it sounded like nothing much. Because it’s nothing much, I decided to do.
Amazing, kan. To reconcile with our mistakes in this world means we gotta do more good! Only then our shortcomings will be erased. For example when we didn’t perform their hajj/umrah perfectly, then we gotta give food to the needy ones. Likewise when we feel grateful for something, we’d always give back.We celebrate the feeling by giving food to other people or do a kenduri and whatnot. So treating the kids with a special breakfast sounded right to me although I didn’t hope anything in return from them. But I do hope I did the right thing, though, even when it was very minimal.
Saba 34:37 “And it is not your wealth or your children that bring you nearer to Us in position, but it is [by being] one who has believed and done righteousness. For them there will be the double reward for what they did, and they will be in the upper chambers [of Paradise], safe [and secure].”
At that moment, I felt spending even a little was a good way to express my gratefulness. Most importantly of course, pray and make dua to Allah with a big heart like what a grateful servant would. After all, since EVERYone’s birthday was in March, our extended families did a joined birthday party anyway.
Abe: 7 /3
Memories created, memories forgotten…some of the fond ones we choose to treasure are the ones that will never be erased. Inshallah 🙂 To be cherished in the memories of our children tomorrow, we have to be in their lives today. Hence this post!