Hello my lovelies! (And Happy [Early] Easter to all of you who celebrate it!) Guess what else? Today is also Priscilla (who for some unknown reason I always want to call “Patricia” :\) Shay’s special day! She’s finally 12, so welcome our little preteen! (I kid, but yeah – I won’t mention her age cuz it might make some of you dislike her. ;))
As you know, I looooooooooooove birthdays! (The highest of ironies since mine is always so awful. But that’s ok – I’m an eternal birthday optimist!) And all the more reason to celebrate everyone else’s! So! Without further ado, a message from the birthday girl! (Yes, I did get Priscilla to come write a post on her day! You’ll see why it’s especially fitting in her case. <3)
Birthdays: Celebrating Others
Hellooo out there!
I want to say today is a very special day…but we (my family and I) have never put any particular emphasis on it. In fact, if someone (or, nowadays, Facebook) doesn’t remind me I usually forget.
What day is it?
Don’t get me wrong. We celebrate birthdays…just not in the conventional sense.
My family has never been big on the *showering-your-kid-with presents for a pretty simple reason: We didn’t have the money.
(*Please note, I have nothing against showering your kids with gifts. If you have it, by all means! I sure intend to do it if I have children someday. Also, I was not devoid of presents as a child; it simply was not the focal point.)
I was born in Guyana (the only English-speaking country in South America) and we emigrated to America when I was five years old. Like every other family just starting out, we didn’t have much. Any and all money that was made paid the bills. They didn’t buy McDonald’s, candy from the supermarket, or a new toy for Christmas. They paid the rent, the electric bill, the phone bill, etc.
The kids at school would show up every day with their new dolls or shoes or backpack. I nodded, smiled, and congratulated them. It will sound odd, but I was genuinely happy for them. I wasn’t secretly jealous or try to steal their things.
Why? Was I a body-switched alien child who didn’t experience basic emotions?
AM I A ROBOT?!
For the five years that I was in Guyana, for every holiday or birthday my mom would cook tons and tons of food, my dad would pack it and us into his little blue car and drive to the local orphanage.
(To the left is a picture of Priscilla’s family… sans Priscilla!) The orphanages in Guyana are a little different. For one, Guyana still has orphanages. America is now on the Foster Care system and orphanages have become obsolete (think Samantha: An American Girl Holiday). Two, the orphanages aren’t only for children who have lost their parents or have no family. Majority of the children in the orphanages (there is a boys orphanage and a girls orphanage) are there because even though their parents are alive, they can’t afford to take care of the children. Rather than abandon to child on the street, they deliver the child to the orphanage where he or she will be taken care of, educated, and given a better chance at life.
Did I understand all of that at three? No.
However, when we arrived with the food, we didn’t just drop it off and leave. My parents would talk to the adults while I played with the kids. We would spend all day there. And this wasn’t a once a year or lifetime thing. Like I said, every birthday or major holiday my mom cooked. LOTS.
(A little secret, I’ve wanted to adopt a child since I was three years old. I guess you can say I’ve wanted to be a mother before I even know how to write.)
In high school, I volunteered at nursing homes and community centers, in college I organized a fundraiser to keep a bookstore open, and last year (into the beginning of this year) Jodi Meadows and I hosted a Knitting for Charity. Looking back, I realize I’ve been involved in a charity of some sort for most of my life and they have been charities I have to be involved in. I haven’t done it because it’s expected of me or because I want to look good for others. It’s just something that’s engrained in me.
Don’t get me wrong, last week I DID ask my mother what she’s getting me for my birthday. (Mommy did not reply.) Whenever people ask me what I want, I have the simplest answers. Since I turned 16, the only thing I’ve asked of my parents is for flowers (a different color each year). Although, this year I stepped it up and want to go to dinner and see the Cherry Blossom Trees in Washington D.C. 😉 This’ll have to wait until next week, however, since I’m working at an Easter Egg Hunt today!
How do you celebrate your birthday? Also, does anyone have any suggestions for this year’s good-will event?
Bio: She is fascinated with all things historical and the only way she can explain it is by claiming she was – clearly – born in the wrong century. (Although, she has been dabbling in the Paranormal and Young Adult.) She holds a B.A. in English: Creative Writing, Honors (with a minor in History) and currently lives in New York pursing a M.A. in History. She is also a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America). When not writing she can be found in a corner crafting, drawing, or baking.
I also asked Priscilla if she wanted to say anything to all of you or make any sort of request. (I think people should get what they want on their birthday, yes?) So this is what she added. 🙂
One thing the orphanage and many people I speak to ask for are more books. If anyone is interested, there is the ProLiteracy Worldwide, an international charity that support programs to help adult learn to read and write. RWA holds a “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing every year at the national conference (this year in Georgia) and has raised over $700,000 for literacy organizations. If you are so inclines, you can donate your time at their local literacy organization (find yours here) or if you’re able to, a financial donation.