Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Very Very Un-birthday In the Making

The other day, I was thinking about Kaya's upcoming birthday, while feeling very excited about coming up with an idea that would be more non-traditional in regards to our celebration.

I was thinking about the reason we even celebrate birthdays, which, in my opinion, is to celebrate life--the preciousness of it, the amazement that exists in each of us, and in us together as LIFE itself.

And then, it hit me. There are SO many people that, for us, make a really huge difference--in how we live, in what we do, in how we view life itself. Until recently, I would often ask myself, "How can I, as one individual, make a real difference in the world?" When I look around, however, it is SO clear to me now. I can, just like all of us can (and do!), make a difference.

So, after all of this philosophizing, I decided that the biggest gift I could give Kaya for her second birthday would be to inspire others to make a real difference in her world. Naturally, her world could be seen as our space, our friends, our family--anywhere and anyone that she connects with in some way. But where I really want to affect, for this gift to her, is on a more global level, where one might normally think a two-year old doesn't really "live"--the rivers, the rain-forests, the schools, the train systems...

Last year, I saw this idea for making a Global Wish List at Christmas-time, where, instead of writing a wish-list for all those things we hope to have in our lives, we ask each family member to contribute at least one idea that would make the world a better place (keeping in mind that optimism is the goal!). I thought that we could do a similar thing for Kaya's birthday, where we "solicit" ideas from YOU, asking you to add to our Global Wish List, with the thought in mind, "What would make a difference in Kaya's world?" Then, after people have added to The List, we can focus our 'resources' on one or two areas, and take the actions to really make a difference, be it through financial support, individual commitments, or a unified group activity on her birthday itself.

So, that said: As someone who has been integral in Kaya's life thus far, or even as a random reader, inspired by this post, please consider adding to our List. The list, at this point, will live in our responses...I will start the first one, as an example, and encourage you to follow suit ASAP so we can come up with a plan. If you are more comfortable sending me a personal email, feel free to do that instead and I will add to this list for you. Then, once most people have added their input, we can work on the next step, with the latest information regarding the difference we are eager to make, and have a celebration of life that is overflowing with possibility!

Thanks for riding our wild hair!
We're so excited!

Check out the follow-up post, An Unconventional Birthday Gift, where you can find specific ideas on how to turn the above ideas into reality!


  1. You're probably not going to like this idea, because it flies in the face of your "celebration of life," but I am impressed with The Jehovah's Witness concept of NOT celebrating birthdays, let alone Christmas, New Year's Day, Halloween, etc. How delightful it is to consider one's birthday as just another day instead of an egocentric celebration where all friends and family bring gifts and make a big fuss. How delightful, on the other hand, just to present a gift ON ANY DAY, only because you feel like doing so.

    Love, Dad

  2. Well, first of all, Dad, I appreciate hearing your viewpoint and love that you felt willing to share it. I have grown to really appreciate that you don't give gifts just because the world says it's the day to do so. I used to resent your tendencies, and judged you as being selfish. Now, I see the value underneath it and understand where you are coming from with your view point. This year, in fact, on Christmas, I found myself wishing it were "just another day" so that I wouldn't have such HIGH expectations of it. I found myself hung up on wanting to remove myself from the gift-giving tendency, while simultaneously feeling emotionally attached to the Christmas experience we had as kids with Mom.

    I appreciate how you delight in considering one's birthday as just another day, instead of the "egocentric celebration". I think the way you voice your opinion is strong, and am concerned that it could offend some who tend to celebrate in that manner, and at the same time, I completely understand your point, which is why I've chosen to go the direction I'm going with Kaya's birthday. (I think that the older we get, the more we have in common and can see eye to eye. It's much nicer this way, for sure!)

    So, because I am using her birthday as a way to reign the power and love of those around us, are you willing to add to our Global Wish List right now and share what you think would truly make a difference in Kaya's world? (assuming you weren't trying to make that point already and I missed it...)
    It would mean a lot and could affect the next step in this birthday journey...
    Love, Tams

  3. Teaching my children multiple languages is my gift to the world. In my opinion polyglots make the world a smaller place!!! and with greater understanding of different cultures, peoples and tongues... and who couldn't use a little more understanding? great post! i'm visiting off of the carnival. would love to have you come visit


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