Becoming A Mom Means Selfish Becomes Selfless

I have a December birthday, which means my entire life I’ve been competing against holiday parties and cacophonous shopping mall crowds in order to get the recognition I feel like I deserve each year. I’ve also had to learn to cope with the reality of “birthday-slash-Christmas” gifts and “birthday-slash-Christmas” parties. So when my husband, Dan, and I got married I decided that the rule in our house, despite what all of the television commercials and mall decorations might lead the world to believe, the holiday season does not start until the day after my birthday (December 1st). This means no tree, no presents, no Christmas music, nothing at all until the second day in December.

The first several years we were married this was fine. Dan would push the envelope each year, busting out a Christmas sweater the day after Thanksgiving or secretly listening to Christmas music in his car, but for the most part it was all about me until the appropriate date.

And then we had kids. And everything (especially my heart) changed.

Last year I turned 30, which is understandably a pretty monumental aging milestone. I told Dan that I wanted a huge party with all of my friends, but because of holiday party schedules (of course) there was no room for that. But I didn’t mind. I ended up ringing in my birthday in a way that just ten years ago I never would have imagined.

First of all, I got to see the clock switch over from November 30th to December 1st with my own (very sober and alert) eyes while snuggling and nursing my at-the-time five-month-old baby Case. It was the two of us on the couch in the dark, the only light being a muted television and the glow from my iPhone, and the only sound being the sweet wistful breaths of a just-barely snoring baby. What I’d wanted my entire life – to be the most important person in the world on my birthday – had finally come true, but in a much sweeter way than I could have ever dreamt. I’d always wanted the entire world to stop caring about Christmas and holidays for just one day so that I could have a real birthday, and here I was, a little boy’s whole entire world, Christmas presents be damned.

After we all got some sleep and then tackled the day, I got to enjoy cake chosen by toddler son, Dax, (Super Mario-themed cupcakes) and then, after bearing the weight of him asking repeatedly each day, I relented on my own rule.

“Yes, Dax.” I looked at Dan to gauge his reaction. “Yes, we can put up the Christmas tree tonight.”

Dan’s jaw dropped.

“Are you TOTALLY sure, Lindsay? We don’t have to! We can put it up tomorrow! It’s your birthday!”

I looked down at Dax jumping up and down, obviously embracing a sugar high from my birthday cupcakes and so unbelievably excited about Christmas.

“Yes. I’m sure. Dax and Case are better than any birthday party I could ever have, or any birthday gift I could ever receive. Who cares? Let them have their Christmas tree.”

Dan smiled and went into storage to get out all the decorations.

Now that Dax is four and has a general understanding of months and calendars, he’s been talking about my upcoming birthday for weeks.

“This month is November, and then after November 30th, it will be December 1st! And that will be your birthday, Mama!”

“Yes, it will!”

“I hope you share your cake with me.”

“Of course I will, Bub.”

“And THEN, on December 25th, it will be CHRISTMAS!”

“Yep, that’s true.”

“But NOT before your birthday.”

I can’t help but smile.