How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you follow a specific routine? Do you pamper yourself, spend time with friends or just look at it as another day?
On Monday Saskia turned another year older and we began our day the way we do on the birthday of everyone in our family. While Saskia went to the gym for her favorite spin class, the kids and I set about preparing. We took down the bin filled with birthday decorations: two banners saying “Happy Birthday” and “Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd” (one for each language we speak); special birthday hats; balloons and streamers; and of course the candles. The kids placed presents around her chair at the kitchen table while I made Saskia’s favorite breakfast. Once she walked in the door, all was ready for her to take her seat, get a big hug and kiss, and hear us sing “Lang zal ze leven”!
Our birthday routines encompass an eclectic mix of Dutch and American traditions that have meshed in a perfect way for our family and our life. We often think about this blend in the greater context of our lives. Both personally and professionally, we embrace different cultures and find beauty in their unique qualities. Just as Saskia’s designs incorporate beads from around the world, so to our life is made up of aspects we learned through our travels. Simple things like making coffee - we always use an Italian style espresso pot - and more complex tasks like parenting are deeply informed by both our heritage and other cultures.
In this fascinating world that seems daily to grow smaller, we have so much to learn from one another. As we follow the traditions handed down from our families, we also have the wonderful opportunity to look around us and reshape those traditions into ones all our own.
Do you have traditions - for your birthday or otherwise - that shape your life? Tell us more - we love to learn.