The two most exciting days of the year, especially for children, are Christmas and their birthday. Birthdays, as a rule, don't have to be shared with anyone else in the family. They are YOUR day. And there are the landmark birthdays of one, ten, sixteen, and twenty-one. After that birthdays are often approached with hesitation and even dread, that is until we are fortunate enough to live to the landmark years of ninety, ninety-five, one hundred, and any other year after that. With twelve months of the year and three hundred and sixty-five days, though, I think it is unfortunate for anyone to have a birthday anytime in the month of December since Christmas and its preparations seem to always overshadow it. My daughter's birthday is December 20, which has made it very difficult to make her day especially special, even when we tried. My husband's birthday was December 9, and I can't count the number of years that I know his own mother forgot his birthday entirely. I think we all deserve our yearly time in the limelight, having a special dinner, desserts, gifts, songs, maybe a party, and more. Validation of being "us" and knowing that we are loved and respected is an important part of growing up and trying to become the best people we can be. I think, too, that celebrating the birthdays of friends and family members teach us respect and caring for others. My husband tended to downplay his birthday, saying it really wasn't much more than another day. But I think that birthdays are more important than just the date on a calendar. Today my oldest grandchild is celebrating her landmark tenth birthday. Her excitement about her special day. I am enjoying have her here with me this year to celebrate it. Bonne Anniversaire, Gabi.