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  • Writer's pictureJulie Cali

What It's Like to Share a Birthday with Your Husband and Your Son

Smack in the middle of the year and halfway to Christmas, June 26th is a momentous day. It’s also my birthday. And my husband’s birthday. And my son Luke’s birthday. Yes, three birthdays in the same family in one day! Statistically, the odds of this occurring is one in 133,000. For frame of reference, the odds of getting hit by lightning is one in 12,000. And yet, here we are, all three of us celebrating growing older together, one year at a time. It’s been a unique experience, complete with its ups and down.

When I met my husband, we loved that we shared a birthday, a common bond uniting us. Any time the clock flashed 6:26 we’d scream out “6 26” in unison. At first, there was some confusion as to who should buy the cake or whether we should exchange gifts. But eventually, we got into our own rhythm and threw birthday parties together. When he turned 30, we flew to Mexico, and had a joint cake. Five years later, we found out our second son was due on our special day, 6/26. But what were the chances of that actually happening? Who is actually born on their due date? And then he was! There’s no greater birthday gift I could have received than holding my newborn child, to have his little fingers wrapped around mine. And from that moment on 6/26 became our special bond, or as we call it CaliSchmidmas.

For the most part, it has been a fun experience. Sharing this milestone together makes it more special, and more meaningful. But there have been some drawbacks. My other two children can feel excluded from the excitement. My daughter said to me once, “Why don’t we share a birthday?” Also, your birthday is the one day of the year where you can be selfish. It is a day all about you, to celebrate you, to champion you, to note your growth as you reach milestone after milestone. But when my son was born, it felt like my husband and I went from sharing a birthday to having no birthday at all. I’ll be turning forty-three in two short weeks, and here I am planning my son’s party, figuring out what cake to get him and the decorations. It’s my job as a parent to prioritize him and to make him feel special, and I love doing that for him. He’s my baby boy. But sometimes it’s hard when I spend my whole birthday making sure he's celebrated.

On my 40th, my family and husband went out of their way to make it a special day, but on most birthdays it’s just a regular day for Kevin and me. One year, a friend ran into my husband at the supermarket while he was loading his car with a big cake and balloons. Afterwards, he told me, “Wow. Your husband really goes all out for your birthday.” I said, “No, he’s just picking up what I ordered for my son.” Last year, on my birthday my kids had Covid so we celebrated among ourselves. And while I bought my son and husband cards and presents, I didn’t get anything in return. I ended up driving us all up to see my mother (she also had Covid), picked up to go dinner, and cut the birthday cake I bought. (In all fairness, this probably happens to mothers even when they don't share a birthday with their husband and son.)

My husband says adults don’t need birthdays anyway—kids celebrate getting another year older, adults dread it. Last year he turned 45 and he categorized it as halfway to 90 and doesn’t want to celebrate any more birthdays. And although I’d like to agree with my husband that I don’t need to celebrate my birthday anymore, part of me feels like it should be a little about me too. Mothers don’t get many days just about them. Christmas is certainly not about us. Your birthday is the one day just for you. But mine never is. It might be hard on my son at some point as well. He's already a middle child, and now he has to spend eternity celebrating his birthday with his parents. Can he ever just have a moment to himself?

So while sharing a birthday can be special, it can also make it so that individually none of us get our own moment to shine. I imagine, as my son grows older, there will come times where he will want to celebrate with friends and not us. And he’ll be conflicted because celebrating him will mean he isn’t celebrating us. But I will try to be mindful that sometimes he should have his own day to himself. I will want him to enjoy his special day any way he wants, as long as he remembers to call me and my husband anytime he notices the clock is on 6:26.


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