The Real Reason I Celebrate Half-Birthdays

Usually it’s cupcakes for breakfast, sometimes there’s a gift, a few times we’ve thrown in lunch and a movie, but we always celebrate.

If you ask me why, I’ll talk about how I only have the one kid so it’s easy to double the birthday celebration. I’ll mention my cousin, who had her baby that day, so the date was already marked. It was an easy habit to jump into – a little half-birthday celebration.

Plus kids love to count the halves, don’t they? And the quarters.

But those aren’t the reasons, not really.

I do half-birthdays because there is at least one moment in every day where I look at this growing kid and I remember how just yesterday he was teeny tiny with a squeaky voice. A moment where I try to figure out how to enjoy the days with him without clinging and grasping, where I try to figure out how to love the minutes and the hours and the days while I’m in them, without mourning their loss as they pass. 

I do half-birthdays because we’re nearly halfway through the time where I’m his main person. Today he will insist on living with me forever, but a too-close tomorrow is coming when he will go off on his own adventures, make discoveries without me, go places I’ve never been, have deep relationships with people I barely know. 

I celebrate half-birthdays because, when his circle is wide, when his days are filled, when there are others vying to celebrate with him on his birthday and on Valentines Day and on Thanksgiving and on all the days where we used to be together as a given – I think we will, I hope we will, still have this day.

When you see pictures of us celebrating 6 ½ or 8 ½ or 13 1/2, this is why. It isn’t because I just have the one kid and it’s easy, or because we knew the date and rolled with it. It is because I wanted a day where I wouldn’t have competition. When he has a life full of other people and other obligations, when he is 25 and 40 and 57, I wanted there to be a day we could celebrate, just us.

I wanted a day where we find time to talk, or to have a cupcake, or even lunch and a movie. I hope this ordinary day, which I have elevated to a family holiday, stays our day, just me and The B.