I woke up this morning and it’s my birthday! “What are you going to do to celebrate?” friends ask. Well, for starters, when I saw that there was no milk for my chai I used vanilla ice cream instead. I’ll just indulge myself like this all day. It’s all about ME! I, ME, MINE! “Everybody look at ME!”
I’m just a foolish male who has never carried a fetus in my body and given birth to a baby and also have a poor memory of what happened when I was born, so naturally I think that my birthday is all about ME.
But if I reflect even for a moment, I know someone else carried me and nurtured me for a long time. Someone else went through childbirth to delivery me into this world. Some person waited patiently for me to come out. Someone else nursed me with breast milk to keep me alive.And I know that it took years of care before I was able to go out into the world on my own.
My friend tells me that Mi Yuk Guk, seaweed soup, is eaten on birthdays in Korea. When women give birth they are fed this soup, as it is seen as the healthiest post-partum food, with iodine and iron restoring blood that the mother lost during childbirth, and helping producing milk. The mother's first meal is a symbol of the baby's start in life. Eating seaweed soup on birthdays thus becomes a reminder of the day your mother gave you life.
If we chose to do so, perhaps anyone could find a way of remembering and honoring their mother. For some people, this is easier than for others. On Mother’s Day I once reminded someone that it was a good day to call your mother. He looked at me and said, “My mother and I don’t talk.”
But even if your mother let you down after giving birth, I know many people who find a way of forgiving and feeling gratitude for the basic gift of life received from one's mother. They are able to say, “Thank you mother – I wouldn’t be here if not for you.” Is there a ritual way that you could give thanks to that special someone without whom you wouldn't be here?This is my way of thanking my mother on my birthday, just a simple, “Thanks Mom!”