There are an estimated 7.5 billion people in today’s world. There are so many people of different ages, races, and backgrounds that it is hard to keep track of everything. That is why God put us all into small groups, known as “families,” and out of these groups are smaller sub-groups known as “immediate family.” Immediate family is something that can make someone happy, sad, or mad. As for me, it makes me happy. I love my family and all the support I get from them, and the memories I have made with them. Most of our memories are made by our family traditions. One of our traditions is doing a “birthday-week.” Birthday-weeks are made up of different activities, experiences, and celebration that last a whole week.
Birthdays are considered sacred in my family. It is not just another day to be lived through. We feel it deserves more than day; it deserves a whole week. The “birthday-week” begins the week before the actual birthday and usually ends with the birthday itself. At the beginning of the week, we wake the birthday person up early, have one of his or her favorite breakfast foods prepared, and then we tell that person what the plan is for that day. The plans for the first day, and any day of the week, could be anything. It all depends on whose birthday is being celebrated. For my sister, the plans could be going to a museum or old missions; for my dad, we could go to the movies or camping; for me, it could be the aquarium or the beach (I am the only family member with a birthday in summer.). The whole family definitely loves to travel. My sister and I may not have left the country yet, but we both want to (to visit). It has always been my mom’s dream for us to travel. She likes the saying “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. In the middle of the week, we spend one day doing the “Which List.” It is a list made up of single letters, and there are always as many letters as however old the birthday person is turning. So if the first thing on the list is “Which D______,” it could mean something like “Which Dead tree,” and that translates to “which book.” That means we get to go and pick out a new book from the bookstore. Every birthday week is memorable no matter whose it is. Since each one is unique, it is a new experience for the whole family.
Throughout the week, there are little gifts hidden throughout our house and different places we go. Then, on our actual birthday, we are awoken early in the morning by the rest of the family singing “Happy Birthday” and spraying silly string. Then, two members of the family head downstairs while the birthday person and one other person stay upstairs together. The birthday person gets to decide who goes and who stays. For example, if it is my sister’s birthday, my mom and dad head downstairs and decorate while she and I hang out and watch a movie of her choice or play a game or whatever she is in the mood to do. Then we head downstairs, and the main gifts will be inside Trader Joe bags. The birthday person will be handed ping pong balls, and s/he must throw the balls into the bags to earn the right to open them. Then we spend the rest of the day watching movies of the person’s picking and making favorite food for him or her.
The birthday-weeks have become more and more different from one another as they have become more personalized to each person’s likings. When my sister was younger, we would stay close to home and watch movies and play games. But as she has grown older, it has become a new tradition for her week to be a traveling one. She likes to see all the old missions scattered around California, so we will travel to them and make stops along the way at interesting places. For me, I still like staying close to home, so we will make one day trips out to the beach or the park. Every person’s week is different and unpredictable – except for my mom’s. Every year, for her birthday, we drive up to Big Bear Lake and spend the whole week hiding out in her favorite cabin, watching The Lord of The Rings saga and the Back to The Future trilogy. Even though there is a set agenda for my mom’s week, we will still find a way to make it different for her. We will take her snowboarding or walking through the forest. No matter what, we always try and keep it fresh for the person.
A year is a very long period of time, during which many traditions can be made. The birthday-week is a tradition I will always remember and will pass on to my kids someday. Birthdays are sacred to my family, and like this quote says, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” That is a quote I hope to keep in my life, and my family for years to come.