The past couple of weeks have been extra busy because I was preparing for Breyen’s birthday party. Venue to be booked, cake to be ordered, food to be catered, goody bag items to be bought and packed, and the guests list to check over and over again. There was so much to be done.
As I prepared for Breyen’s birthday, my firstborn, Phoebie, was watching me. Every time I decided on something related to Breyen’s birthday, she would remind me of her birthday, which is in the second half of the year.
“Mummy, I know what cake I want for my birthday,” she declared, as she watched me choose her younger brother’s birthday cake.
“I know. You told me about me, and I will get that cake for you when your birthday comes,” I answered with a smile.
We had similar conversations numerous times, and because I knew that Phoebie was slightly jealous of the attention her brother was getting, I tried my best to be as patient with her as possible.
That is, until she started to take things up a notch.
This day, it was Breyen’s birthday. He had a simple celebration in school and gave out goody bags to his classmates. He stayed in school as per a normal school day, and I was to pick him up at the normal school dismissal time.
I went about my normal routine and went to pick Phoebie up. In the car, I shared with her about her brother’s school celebration and how adorable her brother looked.
At this point, Phoebie started to complain about how unfair it is that her birthday is still so far away. “It’s not fair. Why is Didi’s birthday at the beginning of the year and why is mine at the second half? Why do I have to wait so long for my birthday to come.”
I tried to explain patiently, “Well, I couldn’t control when your birthdays will be. Besides, I thought you have always been happy that your birthday is near to Papa’s and mine.”
“That is the ONLY thing I am happy about. It’s soooo unfair that I have to wait sooo long for my birthday. Hmmpphhff!!” She grumbled.
“Phoebie, enough!” My patience had officially run out on this topic. “Everyone’s birthday is once a year. Breyen doesn’t have more birthdays than you! You have been having big parties every year for the past six years of your life. How is it unfair?!”
Phoebie was quiet, probably shocked at my reaction.
“While we are all busy preparing for Breyen’s birthday, I hear all your requests about yours and I told you I will remember them. Did I not? And you know what, after Breyen’s birthday, it will soon be yours. When your birthday comes along, Breyen will have to wait just as long for his next birthday to come. So how is this unfair?!” My “preach-it” motor was running and couldn’t stop.
“Whenever we celebrate someone else’s birthday, you think about yours. But you know you have to wait for yours to come, that’s the way it is. Have you ever wondered what other people want for their birthdays? Have you ever asked me what I want for MY birthday?” I said.
“No,” Phoebie said softly
“Instead of complaining about Breyen having his birthday months earlier than yours, how about thanking the Lord that on this day, He gave you a baby brother to love and love you?! How about being happy for him and celebrate him because today is his birthday? If you are so unhappy that today is Breyen’s birthday, you can stay in your room when we celebrate for him tonight.” I said.
For the rest of the car ride to lunch, Phoebie was quiet.
After we had lunch, Phoebie walked beside me and said softly, “Mama, I’m sorry I was complaining that it’s not fair my birthday is not here yet. I want to be happy for Didi that today is his birthday, and I am thankful that God gave me a Didi to love and love me.”
The next day, we had a birthday party for Breyen with family and friends. It would be hard to tell from this photo of Phoebie that just one day prior, she was unhappy that it was her brother’s birthday and not hers.
I’m not sure if I handled things the right way, or if she truly understood what I said. I only know that I need to tell my daughter that as much as I love her and would do my best for her, it isn’t always about her, and yet at the same time, she is already very blessed.