The secret of celebrating a loved one
I’ve never been much of a birthday- person.
Of course, I appreciated the gifts I received. But if someone forgot about my birthday, I didn’t really care that much. The same came true for the birthday of others. I never was good at remembering birthdays. Concerning my own family, I didn’t forget the birthdays. They always got a cake and some gifts. For me, however, it was more of an obligation than a joy… I simply didn’t consider it to be that important.
This has changed recently. It has changed because I’ve realized how happy my kids react to even little things on their birthdays: A special guest, a cake with a special decoration… and how they remember it even months later!
That’s why I’ve started to purposefully think about upcoming birthdays, asking myself: What does this person need, in order to feel loved and cherished throughout the whole day?
I found out that there are many ways to celebrate a person. The more we know the person; the easier it is to celebrate him or her. I’ve found out that the feeling at the end of the day, seeing the purpose accomplished – and having a loved one thrilled by that special day…. It’s the best feeling ever.
- Lately, a very good friend of mine had her birthday. Her husband threw a surprise party for her. Because of him working the whole day – and not being able to prepare much in advance, in order that she wouldn’t discover his surprise beforehand, he decided to simply buy some frozen snacks to put in the oven when the guests would be coming in (he didn’t want to ask us to do something either, knowing that we all have a busy day, too).
But as for me, knowing that this friend is someone who, in the past, had invested her heart many times to make the day for others beautiful, I decided to invest mine to make her surprise even more special.
It was around lunchtime, when I made a decision on it, and with the permission of her husband I went shopping, hurrying to get ready for the night at 7pm.
After an afternoon of cooking and baking, I felt happy and thrilled by the result. She (and the other ladies) felt blessed and enjoyed the variety of delicious foods.
- The other day, my four year old had his birthday. His day was filled with what he loved most:
quality time with only mom and dad (getting up early in the morning at 5am, when everyone else was sleeping; watching the movie he had wanted for a long time, together – and finishing just in time before Benny went to work). Then there was all that love, laughter, visits from people he loves, presents…I’ve never seen my son as thrilled as at the end of that day (and the whole following day, and the day after that). The mission was accomplished successfully! He felt loved, cherished, celebrated and valuable. Weeks later he still said – sometimes out of the blue – “I loooooved my birthday!”
- Recently, Benny had his birthday. There were days when I barely took the time to make him a cake. I did, but it almost got lost in all the housework, kids and other things to take care of during the day.
But this time it was different.
I planned ahead.
I know that what he loves is Family time, good food and a hot date with his wife.
So that’s how I planned the day. I kept my kids at home from school (in our case, this was no problem) we had a delicious brunch, with one of his favorite foods.
Then I had a surprise in store: I sent him to his work, while my sister-in-law came to take care of all our kids.
- Then I went to an appointment with my friend who does professional make up. After that, I picked him up from his work… and we went to have a hot date before we went for dinner in our favorite restaurant nearby. Back home, we put the kids to bed and had a movie night (the prepared dessert stayed in the fridge…. We couldn’t eat any more after our visit to the restaurant.)
In the end I was able to say: mission accomplished. I could see (and he told me so) that he felt so loved, cherished, celebrated –and known. I knew what makes him happy. And he valuated that deeply.
What I did shows only a very few ways to let a loved one feel loved.
Everyone is so unique that these special days can look tremendously different.
Here are some thoughts if you plan to make the day of your loved ones special:
- Be creative. Think about ways, by which you know, the person will feel loved.
- It is not about “what would make you yourself feel loved”… but rather try to put yourself into the other person. I know that for my husband, it would be the worst thing, to surprise him with a party with many people. For him that would be exhausting and tiring. However, if someone would do that for me – I would feel loved and special. The more people, the more I would feel amazed and loved. Therefore – it is not a good idea to simply assume the other person works and thinks the same way like you. Mostly, people are very different. Find out how different.
A good book to read, in order to get a glimpse of the different ways to feel loved is the book “The five Love Languages” from Gary Chapman.
- Start early enough, make a list. Do you want to bake, write, create, take an appointment or make a reservation?
- How much money is needed to make the day, the way you dream to make it for your loved ones? It doesn’t matter if there is no money around. One time, while in Bolivia, a friend of mine had his birthday. I did not have the possibility of baking or buying a cake for him. Therefore, I bought a watermelon and turned into a birthday cake, by putting some candles on it. This was enough to make this person feel special and loved.
- The most important thing however is: Give yourself! This day is not about you, but about the other person. Therefore, invest everything you are and have. In a special way, let the person know, how much you love, appreciate, cherish and valuate him or her!