Monday, February 7, 2011
Today is my birthday--Teri's was exactly one week ago; with our birthdays being so close, we get to have a bit of a "birthday season" and the mailbox offers up cards, well-wishes and packages for a good two weeks. While we both tend to be the sort of people who celebrate birthdays, this is just one of the many areas where the differences in our family cultures comes shining through.
Teri's family are fabulous at gift-giving--they are quite attentive when it comes to cards and thoughtful little gift packages (and not just at birthdays either.) In my family, it tends to be more about words--a card, a song, a letter--or an activity; when I was raising my kids, we always focused on them getting to choose activities that they wanted to do on their special day. The blending of two family cultures can be a wonderful process, but it is not without its "speed bumps" (as our friend Gayle calls them.)
I have assured Teri that the lack of cards and gifts from my side of the universe in no way reflects a lack of thought or caring. In fact, the phone call wishing her a "Happy Day" that came from our daughter Lucy on Teri's birthday (and the pending lunch that Lu and her boyfriend are taking us on) are motivated by the same sentiment as those wonderfully wrapped little gifts and cards that come from the East coast. For my part, I am having to learn how to accept the gifts gracefully that come from Teri's family, and to accept them in the spirit they are intended without feeling guilty for my lack of gift-giving savvy!
The reality is that Teri and I are both very blessed and very lucky--at this stage in the game of life, our families are doing such a wonderful job of making us both feel accepted and adjusting to the fact that we are combining our lives. Our kids, sisters, parents, etc. are taking our commitment cue without a bit of obvious hesitation and our birthdays have been just one of the circumstances where we could both "feel the love" radiating from all directions.