Tuesday, November 20

'Cause, Baby, Look at You Now

Birthday tradition in Holland is clear. Rather than warm wishes for the birthday person alone, hearty congratulations are given to all in the family (or in the room for that matter). For example, if it is a birthday of a child, you would enter the home and wish Gefeliciteerd to the mother, the father, the grandparents, the siblings, and then to the birthday child.

Personally I think it a grand tradition, if only in this very circumstance. Being the mama of three, none of whom were all that easy to bring into this world, I relish the moment someone is saying to me: "Congratulations on the birthday of your daughter". I take that to be a full blown compliment as to a job well done.

So, I pause now to receive your congratulations for my daughter's birthday.

And now this next sentence really gives me pause:

Emma is twelve today.

How this happened in the blink of an eye I will never know. It really doesn't seem possible that the night I finally, finally, finally went into labor (after two Castor oil & orange juice cocktails) could really be a twelve-years-ago reality.

Emma zipped into existence in the wee hours of morning, long before the nurses thought she might be making an appearance. My midwife arrived just in time to catch her, rub her blueness to pink, swaddle her tightly and hand her over to me.

Bald, pug nosed, with her ears pinned flat to the sides of her head, I am certain there never was a baby girl more beautiful in all the world.

I still think that very thing. (Even though now she is no longer bald, nor pug nosed. And her ears stand out a nice distance from her head) She is beautiful from the inside out and she will always, always be my baby girl.

Happy Birthday Ems. Mama loves you crazy.


  1. Gelukkige verjaardag Emma

    Gefeliciteerd met de verjaardag van je dochter, Jenn.
    (hmm da's wel iets wat we in Belgiƫ niet doen)

    en is idd heeeel mooie foto van heel mooi meisje!

  2. Happy birthday to Emma. And congrats mama!

  3. I agree that it is a wonderful tradition to wish the mother happy birthday as well as the child since it is also your special day.

    Happy Birthday, Emma.

    Happy Birthday, Jenn.

  4. Hartelike Gefelciteerd Darlin'! And 12X more to Emma! (And of course the obligatory congrats to all others present while you read this!)

    Ain't it amazin'? Our girls grew up without us noticin'! And survived in one piece (well, almost!). Now we have to contend with others noticing (GRRR!!).

    Hope you all have a happy day!

  5. Congratulations - but I have to say that when my Dutch in-laws and friends do that thing, it always confuses me. I mean, congratulate the mum, yes - she did the hard work - and maybe the dad - more often than not he pays for it - but the siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents?

    Or is this just the miserable English woman in me coming out? Yes, actually, it probably is...

  6. Goodness, she is strikingly beautiful! And since I don't speak a lick of Dutch,...
    Happy Birthday to Emma and congrats to all!

  7. See, my mama taught me the birthday greetings go to all in the family. She also taught me that the birthday child should always take treats to school to share with all of the classmates.

    My daughter is about to turn 12 herself. It's quite a rude awakening for us, isn't it? Middle school, teen years just hiding around the corners - sigh.

    Best of birthday wishes to you, dear mom Jenn.

  8. Happy Birthday to you.
    Happy Birthday to you.
    Happy Birthday, dear Emma.
    Happy Birthday to you.

    Happy Birthday to Jenn!

    (FWIW, Emma is 9 days older than Pink Guy.)

  9. Happy B-day to your beautiful daughter. And, congrats to you on the accomplishment of her.

  10. Happy Birthday to Emma, you're right, what a beauty she is!

    And congrats to her mommy too!

    When I visited The Netherlands, I was struck by the practice of keeping a caldender in the bathroom with everyone's birthday's marked. Maybe I just visited a bunch of real weirdo's, but almost without exception, I'd find a calender in people's bathrooms.

    It got to where I'd visit people's bathroom just to see if there was a calender there or not. :P

  11. t-shirt-
    Indeed, another tradition worth mentioning! I have a calendar in mine... you know, when in Holland...

  12. Wishing you and Emma, and all others present, a glorious birthday and a year filled with great adventures and marvelous achievements!

  13. Happy Birthday...it has been awhile since we've seen you but I remember a few birthdays with you!

    Happy birthday to ian in a few weeks, too.

  14. Oh, Jenn, she's going to be a heartbreaker! And I'm sure she's as lovely inside as out with a great mom like you!

  15. Happy birthday, momma. Happy birthday, dada. Happy birthday "baby" girl.

  16. Van Harte Gefeliciteerd Jen, and all other parents, grandparents and uncles and aunts and nieces and nephews and cousins and siblings, and whatever else you may have. ;) And for the birthdaygirl herself: Gefeliciflapstaart!

  17. Gefeliciteerd Jenn en Emma! It's obvious this child is destined to break hearts (unintentionally) and to grow up to do great things.

  18. Gefeliciteerd!

    And I know I've mentioned it before but Emma has GORGEOUS hair!

  19. Well, congratulations to you on the birthday of your daughter! Twelve! Ah, twelve. That was a hard year for me.

    Emma is a beautiful girl. I hope she loves twelve.

  20. I hope Emma had a wonderful birthday. 12 year olds are just wonderful - I've got one too! :-)