That I made a big deal about them, was I believe, as a statement against my own childhood. Being a bit of an anomaly for the time, my mother was a working woman. What that translated to for me, was a fairly limited number of birthday parties over the years, and essentially just the basics when it came to family parties. No fuss, no muss was the axiom for the big day.
As a parent then I made rather a big deal out of my kids' birthdays. There was always a party with friends, followed on the weekend by a gathering with grandparents and godparents. I did everything I could to ensure my kids knew how special their birthday was to me. I always hoped they got the message.
And if the birthday parties they've thrown for their little ones are any indication, they did. I could never have topped these soirées with their themes, decorations, roasted pigs and around-the-world cuisine. They will be, I suspect, long discussed and never forgotten.
Which is how it should be. A birthday is a celebration of a life, whether at its beginning or near its end. It is a person's special day, meant to honour them and acknowledge how happy we are to know them and have them in our lives.
However, since no one loves birthdays more than kids, and since we all love kids, here are some birthday photo collections specifically focussing on the earlier years: