Birthdays on Other Days

September 12, 2013

mike stanley lake powell

By Gabrielle.

Yesterday was September 11th. When I go about my day on September 11th, and see something or read something that reminds me it’s September 11th, like many people, I relive those moments of twelve years ago. We had just moved to New York the month before. I held newborn baby Olive in my arms while I watched the news. Ben Blair was in Manhattan.

And then I remember that September 11th is also my dad’s birthday. The picture at top is my dad at Lake Powell. I believe he would have been 70 years old this year!

He died a few years before the events of 9/11. And I’m not sure how he would have felt, sharing his birthday with a national day of mourning. I know that Liz of Mom 101, a life-long New Yorker, has a 9/11 birthday as well, and I’ve noticed she finds good ways to celebrate, while also honoring the somber realities of that day. And I always wonder if that’s a hard balance for her to strike.

I’d love to know, do you share your birthday with another big day? 9/11? Pearl Harbor? Or maybe a holiday? Do you like sharing the day? Or would you switch if you could? And if your child has a birthday on another big day, what’s that like?

P.S. — I was at a business lunch yesterday, and people were sharing their stories. I talked about my Dad, and his decade long obsession with yellow. Yellow socks, yellow shoes, yellow clothes, yellow watch, yellow car, yellow classroom. I miss my dad. It was nice to have an excuse to talk about him.

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{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy3 September 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm

There was a couple in our childbirth class whose daughter was born on 9/11/01 in Manhattan. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have that very exact birthdate. (My daughter was born 3 weeks later.)

My birthday is a week before Christmas Eve. It’s not the same as sharing the day with a holiday or other big event, but I do find that even a week out, my birthday tends to get lost in the shuffle (by me as much as by anyone; I’m so busy with Christmas prep!).


2 Tasha September 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I don’t have a common birthday and am glad for it!
Gabrielle, I am curious about your dad and yellow?! Classroom?
Did he have other “stages” like an artist?
Tomorrow is my first Friday after back to school and meeting 100 students, a good excuse to celebrate lol!


3 Wende September 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm

We can’t seem to escape sharing our birthdays in my family! I was born on St. Patrick’s Day, my fourth son was born on Christmas Day (weird but beautiful way to spend Christmas of ’09) and my fifth son was born over Labor Day weekend – so we will probably always be at a picnic on his birthday. :) I for one love celebrating on St. Patty’s Day – though I limit corned beef and cabbage to another day. :) Also, for the first time we had a half birthday for our Christmas baby. He loved it and I’m sure we’ll continue the tradition. :)


4 Kara September 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm

My birthday is April 19th. That date may not ring any bells, but on my 21st b-day was the Oklahoma City bombing and the round-the-clock news coverage that went with it. Two years later was the Branch Davidian inferno (in Waco, Texas). In our pre-9/11 innocence these were the biggest domestic tragedies at the time becausee many children were intentionally killed amongst the innocents in both instances. A few years later my best friend called me in tears on HER birthday and said “your b-day has always been the cursed one, now mine is” – September 11th. She now lives in the Netherlands so I will have to see how the local vibe was for her yesterday. No one remembers anything odd about 4/19 anymore…


5 Sarah September 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm

My grandmother shared the same birthday as you. She was very superstitious about it. She kept a tally of all the bad things that happened on that date. On the day she was born, her dad went blind but regained his sight days later. On her tenth birthday he was diagnosed with some serious illness. On her twentieth, she broke her leg and her father almost died. I hope that doesn’t freak you out; I’ve always found it interesting. She lived to be 70 and had many, many, many more good birthdays than bad ones.


6 Summer September 13, 2013 at 11:08 am

I always remember 4/19. I believe it’s some kind of militia day as well? Columbine was on 4/20, and thinking it was odd that it wasn’t on 4/19 (obviously, it’ horrible it happened at all, but you know what I’m saying).

Anyway, 4/19 was my nephew’s birthday (he passed away) and is now my best friend’s daughter’s birthday, so I keep hoping it will bring some light to that day!


7 Kara September 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Thanks Summer and Mary – it’s nice to hear that other people are keeping an eye on my birth date! My daughter is now 3, and since she was born on April 21, I kind of almost forget about my own birthday now. I developed pre-eclampsia (sp?) at the very end of my pregnancy and wound up having her via c-section. I remember my husband and I sitting down the day before my birthday and googling the date we wanted her to be born: 4/19 was my b-day and I didn’t want her to feel like she had to share her day, 4/20 was hitler’s b-day – so no way on that, 4/21 was Queen Elizabeth’s b-day. So the 21st it was!


8 Kara September 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm

oops! I meant Sarah (Mary is right below)


9 J September 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm

April 19 is the day the Battles of Lexington and Concord (of “The shot heard round the world” fame) happened, which was the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Though these events happened on April 19, Patriots Day in Massachusetts is celebrated on the third Monday in April, and unfortunately this year it was marked by bombings at the end of the Boston Marathon (which is always held on Patriots Day).


10 Issa September 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm

I remember it vividly. My bday is the 20th and that year I was sick and watched the news all day long. the 19th is also my best friends birthday. For some reason I remember it more than I do Columbine, which happened on my birthday.


11 Mary September 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm

My son’s birthday is 12/14, and it made me happy that he also shared his late grandfather’s (my dad’s) birthday. Last year, however, the Newtown tragedy occurred on that date. I’m grateful that he is only 6 (yes, the same age as so many of those little victims), and I was able to shield him from the news that day/weekend so that nothing took away from his day. It made me sad, though, and it made it even tougher for me to deal with the news. It was good therapy to have a house full of 6-year-olds for his party the following day, though.


12 madge September 12, 2013 at 6:46 pm

My son also turned 6 last 12/14. I remember feeling so incredibly, inexplicably lucky to have my new six-year old safe and sound at home when all those parents did not.


13 Becky September 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I know it was several years ago, but still – I’m sorry for the loss of your dad. My dad died a few years after 9/11, and I can relate to your comment about how nice it is to talk about him once in a while.
I feel like I didn’t really become an adult until my dad died. Even though I’d been on my own for years, somewhere deep inside I still pictured my dad as the same invincible superhero that I’d imagined him to be when I was a child. Even though he’s been gone for years, that bittersweet ache of missing him still pops up now and then.
My dad was a mischievous joker, and now whenever my toddler gets that “I’m going to be tricky” look in his eye or someone tells a great joke, I remember my dad and feel a little comforted by the memory.
I hope you see lots of yellow this week and that it brings you comfort as well. :)


14 Karen September 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm

What a sweet post, Becky.


15 Jennifer September 13, 2013 at 11:01 am

I agree! Such a nice comment.


16 pam September 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm

My wedding anniversary is 9/11/93. My birthday is the day after Christmas. If I had a choice, I’d probably change my birthdate.


17 Nicole Brenner September 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm

My husband and I were married on September 11, 1999. In 2001 we lived near the Pentagon. I will NEVER forget the image of driving by the Pentagon and seeing it in flames. It saddens me to have this event on our wedding anniversary…but it still is the most wonderful day of my life when exchanged vows with this man that I love. I like to think we can honor the lives that were lost by living our married life with grace and sharing our memories with our children.


18 Makayla Sampson September 12, 2013 at 5:53 pm

My Anniversary is on Christmas Day and my birthday is on Dec. 20th, so we have many celebrations in one week. One positive side of this is that my husband always remembers!
Some people ask me if the anniversary gets lost in the holiday….and I always say, “No, because we celebrate our happiness together everyday! And Christmas makes the day all the more special.”


19 Kim September 12, 2013 at 6:32 pm

My twins were born on 9/11/04, so they turned 9 yesterday. My husband and I were in Manhattan on that day in 2001. The twins’ birth made that day a beautiful day again for me, but it remains a day filled with such mixed emotions. They are becoming sensitive to the fact that so many people lost their lives that day and I anticipate many more questions and conversations around this horrific piece of our history. I, myself was born on November 22, 1963, so share that with the actual day that JFK was assassinated. Periodically, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving, which is great, nothing better than a candle stuck in the middle of a pumpkin pie!


20 Meghan Wagner September 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm
21 Sarah September 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm

My birthday is in late March — I was born on Easter Sunday and it fell on Easter again when I turned 11. But Easter’s a funny holiday and doesn’t follow a set pattern (not to mention it’s usually in April, not March) so I don’t have to “share” again until I turned 70-something!


22 Sarah September 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm

“Turn” not “turned” — I’m not 70 yet. ;)


23 Summer Lewis September 13, 2013 at 6:11 am

I was born on an Easter Sunday in April. And I turned 11 on Easter again, and then 22 as well! Easter does have a pattern for when it happens, but it’s weird (it’s the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox).


24 Grace @ sense and simplicity September 12, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Oh Gabby, I’m so sorry. Your father was so young when he passed away. It must have been so tough for you. I have yet to lose a parent, but my father has terminal cancer and has months not years to live so my time is coming. I bet I’ll enjoy having opportunities to talk about him in after he is gone too. I love hearing stories about your family so feel free to blog them as well.

My parents wedding anniversary is September 11th and they celebrated 59 years of marriage yesterday. They don’t let it bother them one bit that such horrible things happened on their anniversary. They always say that it was a great day before 9/11 and it is still a great day. They just keep the two events separate.

My husband and I were married on Valentine’s day because we were married when we were in university and that was the first Saturday of Reading Week. I kind of like it as then our anniversary is easy for everyone to remember and I always say the whole world is celebrating our anniversary with all the mushy love talk. I do find it embarrassing to tell people though as I’m not a very romantic sentimental person so getting married on Valentine’s day doesn’t seem like something I would do.


25 Crystal September 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

My parents were married on April 4, 1968, the very day that Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. Hearing stories of their wedding day always included stories of MLK.


26 Kristi Beth September 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm

My parents’ anniversary is September 11th. They just celebrated 31 years yesterday. My mom says that she chooses to focus on the good of that day.


27 Emily September 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm

My birthday is March 18th so I always felt like St. Patrick’s Day was my holiday. My sister’s birthday is Christmas Eve and we could never give her a present with Christmas paper or a red and green cake or she would get SO mad. I would hate to have a Christmas birthday but now that she’s older she doesn’t mind. My husband’s birthday is Pearl Harbor day but this far out from that anniversary it’s not really a day of sadness anymore, more of remembrance.

Your dad died so young. I’m so sorry. I liked to hear about him!


28 erika September 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm

my husband’s birthday is new year’s eve – so we always celebrate it on a different day -otherwise he just gets lumped in with all the NYE parties!


29 KelliO September 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

My mom’s birthday is December 31st! Dad always takes the whole family to lunch, since we’re home on holiday, and Mom likes to play it up and say everyone’s celebrating for her. It actually makes it one of my favorite holidays.


30 Deanna September 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Hi Gabby,
I remember your dad and I remember the yellow car. I didn’t realize that he had such a passion for yellow. I love seeing old photos of your family. It was such great fun having the Stanley family live next door for a few of my growing up years.

I can relate to your qualms about remembering a loved one on a day of mourning. My dad and I share a birthday in late May. He passed away when I was nine years old. From time to time, our birthday happens to fall on Memorial Day. It was hardest when I was young to feel truly celebratory on my birthday when the day’s activities included a trip to the local cemetery to leave flowers on his grave. Over the last 30 years, specific days have become less weighted with memories. Places and objects, however, hold more memories. Whenever I step into his wood working shop and smell the warm fragrance of lingering saw-dust, I can almost see him at work again, creating something beautiful. His dark brown eyes and crooked smile are replicated in several of my children. These things and more fuel my remembrance and appreciation for my father’s good life.

(On an unrelated note: my four year old is also obsessed with yellow. He had a yellow birthday with yellow party bags, food, decorations, and gifts. I think his love of yellow perfectly describes his sunny disposition. Did your dad’s love of yellow say something similar about his personality?)


31 Darci September 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm

My bday falls on Flag Day. It’s kind of a non issue ;)


32 Julie September 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Mine as well! I do find, though, that is a helpful way to remember my bday when I tell people it is Flag Day.

My grandparents also got married on my bday when I was 5 (my grandma and step-grandfather). I used to always call them and wish them a happy anniversary. Now that they have passed away it makes me sad that I can’t continue the tradition!


33 LauraLake September 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm

My sister- and brother-in-law are both born on Christmas eve (three years apart) and FIL’s birthday is the day before on the 23rd. So there’s a LOT of celebrating that week! I know that they don’t really like having their birthdays then, but their tradition is that instead of cake each one gets their own homemade gingerbread house, and I’ve always thought that was fun and special. Even though we live far away we still eat our gingerbread house on Christmas eve to celebrate.


34 Monica September 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm

My eldest sister was born ten years before me almost to the day – her birthday is on Halloween and mine is November 1st – All Saints’ Day. I always kidded her that she’s a witch and I’m a saint (but don’t think she appreciated my juvenile humor!).


35 Summer September 13, 2013 at 11:29 am

This made me laugh!


36 mom101 September 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Thanks so much for this Gabby, really. I feel so honored to share the day with your dad. (Whose photo totally qualifies for by the way.) And as my own dad always says to me, “9/11 will always be a great day to me, because it’s the day you were born.” I imagine in a way you might feel the same.

It does get easier each year. Mostly I’ve just learned not to turn the television on at all that day. But something really wonderful happened this year: my 8 year-old saw the two huge light towers in the sky out our window from Brooklyn and said “Mom, it’s like two giant birthday candles for you.”

I couldn’t help but smile.


37 JulieKP September 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm

In our family we have lots of dates that are unusual. My birthday is April 14. It is the day Lincoln was shot and the Titanic hit the iceberg. My brother was born on Leap Year. He would definitely change it if he could! My father and his older brother were born on July 23 three years apart. But my favorite dates are April 14 (my birthday), March 14 (my husband’s birthday), July 14 (the day my husband and I met), and June 14 (our wedding day). I tease my husband there is no way he can forget our special days. If the 14th of the month rolls around it must be a day to celebrate!


38 Angela September 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

My birthday is September 11th. On my fifth birthday, my little sister was born. My dad always used to call us his 9/11 girls. Of course he does not anymore. It is strange having a birthday on that day. Friends and family make it special, but there is always a somber tone where ever you go. I remember and mourn for those who lost their lives, but I also remind myself of the wonderful way our country pulled together that day. And then I try to separate that from my birthday and my sisters’ birthday, because they are reasons to be happy and celebrate life.
I love hearing about your dad, Gabby, and I am honored to share a birthday with him.


39 Alex September 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm

My friends husband is also a Sept 11 birthday and my husbands Grandpa passed away on Sept 11 (no relation to the events of 9/11). My husband’s Grandma was born on Christmas Day and she’s actually really ok with it. My birthday is the same day the Titanic sank 4/15 only many, many years later.


40 Kjersten September 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm

This photo of your dad brings back so many memories of him. I loved his yellow obsession. I am glad you had an excuse to talk and think about him on his birthday.


41 Christine September 12, 2013 at 9:54 pm

My Grandad died on my 16th birthday. I think about him every year and wonder what he’d think of my life now: living in America, mama to a toddler, and not a vegetarian anymore (he was a huge meat eater and aghast when I turned veggie)! I hope he’d be proud.


42 Tara Painter September 12, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I have a spunky daughter born on September 11th 2011 (the ten year anniversary).

I remember with some amount of dread realizing that I was indeed going to deliver my baby on that day (I had gone into the hospital late the night of Sept. 10th) The day was joyful for our little family, and we made a point not to turn on the TV. :)

Funny enough, Poppy (my daughter) was the only birth in that busy hospital that day haha.

The nurses knitted her a special red, white and blue stocking cap that I have kept.

I sometimes wonder how or if, it will follow her into adulthood. Right now we get passing comments when we mention her birthday for paperwork type situations. I usually find myself responding with the special knitted cap story.

Mostly, the day for me has transformed somewhat (at least separated the two events in my mind) As a mother, it’s probably just instinctual.

The only time it really struck me yesterday was when I was scrolling through my instagram feed, and thinking about how different my focus (celebrating my 2 year old!) on this day now is.


43 Katy Morrow September 12, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Tara, I also have a daughter who was born on the ten year anniversary of 9/11. Throughout my pregnancy I swore that she would not be born on that day, but clearly God had other plans! :) I remember being in labor and being upset as I realized that there was going to be nothing that I could do to avoid her having that birthdate (she was born at 12:32 in the morning). One of my best friends told me that it would end up being such a blessing — that it would be the perfect example of how we get to celebrate life on an otherwise dark day.

I laughed when you described your daughter as spunky, because it is a great word for mine as well — she has one of the brightest spirits of anyone that I’ve ever met. And I don’t think that it is a coincidence. I truly think that God just knew that the world needed a ray of bright sunshine on that day.

I also think about how different my focus is on 9/11 — like you, my focus yesterday was on making my daughter’s birthday special. It has definitely transformed the day for me.


44 Sally September 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

I was born on Memorial Day and my mom swears it was the bass drums from the marching band in the parade that put her into labor. I was born and grew up in Gettysburg, PA, where they still have a parade and school children walk in it to the cemetery and then lay flowers on the graves of unknown Civil War soldiers. I grew up walking and then marching with the band in that parade which sometimes meant I was doing it on my birthday. Some years I did not like that I had to ‘share’ my birthday with another event. But now that I’m grown and have children, I kind of miss the parade and the fact that Memorial Day doesn’t mean much to people besides the official start of summer


45 Kathryn h September 12, 2013 at 10:38 pm

My birthday is November 11th. I was born in Wales and that date is known as Rememberance Day, a day when we give thanks to all who paid the ultimate sacrifice. When i was a child, i was always mad that there was no mail on my birthday! I then married a US Navy sailor and ended up living in the United States where it is Veterans Day. The day is now shared with my husband and all the other veterans I have met and admired through the years.


46 Willa September 12, 2013 at 10:56 pm

My birthday is May 14th and once in awhile it coincides with Mother’s Day which was always fun growing up. Even if the actual dates didn’t match up, we always celebrated my birthday and Mother’s Day together with my mother and both grandmothers, all the women. I think sharing it made it special, and thinking back now, the fact that I was partially the reason for celebrating mother’s day in the first place probably added to the specialness (I was an only child and an only grandchild for one my grandmas).


47 Stella September 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm

My birthday is September 2nd, which occasionally falls on Labor Day (as it did this year). When I was growing up I didn’t like that my birthday usually happened right before school started, so I never got to have people make a big deal out of my birthday at school. Now I love when it falls on Labor Day because I get a day off to celebrate my birthday and do whatever I want and friends/family are usually free. :)


48 Brooke W. September 12, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Thanks for sharing about your dad. I hope you find many more excuses to talk about him when you feel the need. My grandma’s birthday is also on Sept. 11 and she just recently passed. The day has always held some significance for me, but that significance has changed throughout the years. And I was missing her yesterday.

As for me, I was born at the end of November but my bday so happens to never ever fall on Thanksgiving, but sometimes the day after, which rocks because family is likely to be around and also? no school.


49 lisa thomson September 13, 2013 at 12:01 am

I’m kind of glad your dad didn’t have to share his birthday with such a horrible anniversary. I’m sorry for your loss. No matter how much time goes by, we still miss our loved ones who have passed. My daughter shares her birthday with Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving) which seems very appropriate. I wonder how Halloween babies like sharing their day with ghosts and ghouls? I know anyone with a Christmas b-day usually feel cheated. That is a lovely picture of your father.


50 Sally from Little Hiccups September 13, 2013 at 12:05 am

My husband’s birthday is New Year’s Eve. Everyone comments that it must be great having a birthday on a day that everyone is celebrating but that actually makes it a little hard to throw birthday parties. There are always lots of other parties to attend so guests don’t tend to stay for long. And they always forget that we’re hosting a birthday party rather than a New Year’s Eve party! People are always surprised when I pull out the birthday cake!

We happened to get married on the 5th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death (complete coincidence). Probably not a big deal here in the US but back home in Australia the anniversary of her death is always a big thing in the media.

Oh, and one of my childhood friends was born on 7/7/77! As a kid I was always so jealous of her birthdate!


51 Sally from Little Hiccups September 15, 2013 at 11:58 am

I just remembered that I share my birthday with the Golden Gate Bridge! It was nice to celebrate with such an iconic landmark last year – although unlike the bridge I did not turn 75!


52 Raquel Abrantes September 13, 2013 at 4:45 am


My birthday is on the 9\11! Since then, EVERYtime or ANYONE who congrants me say something related to it.


53 Jennifer September 13, 2013 at 4:59 am

My parents anniversary is on 9/11 and it doesn’t seem to bother them. One of the ways we both celebrate my parents and honor those lost on 9/11 is to thank our local first responders. My parents live with us and my dad’s severe heart condition means we have called EMS to our house several times. My kids are young (6 & 9) and we talk more about the heroes, the ones who helped and then relate that to those who have helped their Pop-pop. I don’t want my children to think of 9/11 with anger, hatred or fear. I want them to think of how amazing it is when people come together to help one another.


54 Denise September 13, 2013 at 7:24 am


I lost my Dad way too soon, just like you. Man, I miss him. It’s been 10 years for me now. The picture you posted is so sweet. That feeling of loss never goes away, but I do find smiles in the things that I see in our son that reminds me of my Dad. I know if he were here today, my Dad and my son would be best of buddies. Remember all the “yellow” of your Dad and smile at the bits of him that shine through in your children. Dads are the best and they live forever in our hearts!


55 Miggy September 13, 2013 at 7:29 am

I have a friend with not one but two daughters who share the 9/11 birthday. One was born the year before the attacks, one the year after. Crazy to share a b-day with your sister in the first place, even crazier to have it fall on such a memorable day. Knowing my friend I’m sure her girls love their birthday and feel special regardless of sharing the day with each other and the nation.

I was actually due on Christmas day but held out was born almost 2 weeks later which I don’t mind at all. I’ve always been able to take advantage of the great after Christmas sales for my birthday.


56 Ris September 13, 2013 at 7:46 am

My mom and her older sister share a birthday–December 29. Not only does she have to share a birthday with her sister, she’s stuck in that no man’s land after Christmas but before New Year’s. We try to make it special for her every year but oftentimes people are out of town or partied out. Poor mom.


57 Nicki September 13, 2013 at 7:59 am

My eldest daughter’s birthday is 31st October. As she’s got older she’s happier to share her birthday on Halloween but she doesn’t much like to dress up as a witch. My youngest daughter’s birthday is 5th November, another big day here in the UK. She loves the fireworks on Guy Fawkes/ Bonfire Night, they are all for her!


58 sarah September 13, 2013 at 8:01 am

i loved this post for a few reasons: my birthday is september 10, at one point dubbed by a news station shortly after 9/11 as ‘the last day of hope,’ and a friend whose birthday is 9/11, as well as friends with the wedding anniversary of 9/11. striking a balance between celebration and mourning can be challenging, but i’ve enjoyed watching my friends move forward by unabashedly enjoying their special days while still remaining respectful of what that date means for our nation. i also loved your postscript about your dad. i lost my mom a couple of months ago–she was very young and it was sudden–and so reading about your enjoyment when you got an opportunity to share things about him really struck a chord. i’m so sorry for your loss, and hope that his 9/11 birthday and your memories of him help to bring warmth to that date each year.


59 Megan M. September 13, 2013 at 8:18 am

My birthday is January 13th, which in itself is not special, but I was born on a Friday! Every time there’s a “Friday the 13th” (like today!!!) I feel like I’m sharing a private joke with the Universe. It’s my day!

I always thought it was funny how my sisters and I have two pairs of birthdays very close together- January 13th and 19th, and June 23rd and 26th. And my firstborn daughter shares a birthday with one of her aunts. And my daughters’ birthdates are inverses of each other: 6-23 and 3-26. Life is full of amazing connections.


60 sarah k September 13, 2013 at 8:23 am

Your dad looks like such a kind man. And it seems to me that loving the color yellow says great things about a person. I am sure you must miss him terribly. The thought that my dad is getting older, and will someday not be here with us, makes me almost stop breathing. Happy Birthday to your dad. I’m sorry he isn’t here to celebrate it with you.

A strange coincidence of dates in our family: my husband and I happened to pick the same wedding date (December 27th) as his divorced parents had many years before (my husband didn’t remember that; his mom informed us after we picked the date). It’s not a tragic connection, but it feels a little awkward and uncomfortable if I think about it.

I don’t know what it feels like to have a birthday or anniversary on a “day of infamy” like Sept 11th, but it does seem to me like maybe celebrating those dates could be a way of not letting the darkness win–of not letting the terrorists and evildoers of the world have the last say. We can’t undo what happened that day or mitigate any of the horrible losses, and we should remember and honor those sorrows–but we can also work to celebrate the good that no amount of evil can destroy.


61 Aly S September 13, 2013 at 8:45 am

September 11 is my birthday too, and it’s difficult, to say the least. Birthdays in my family when I was a kid were always a pretty big deal (as they are for my kids now). My birthday was MY day, a day about me, and in 2001 I was turning 25, I had been married for just over a year, and it was a perfectly beautiful day. I was working at a college in the Boston area and I arrived in my office that morning, having walked across campus marveling at how gorgeous my day was, to receive an IM from my husband asking if I could tell him anything about the plane crash in NY. In my search to find out what he was talking about, I ended up in a colleague’s office, where there was a small tv, just in time to see the second plane and the aftermath broadcast live. I took the most dramatic single-day emotional slide of my life, from feeling on top of the world, to being utterly terrified about what would come next.

I don’t like to talk about it much, because however traumatic my experience of that day was, it didn’t include a loss of life as it did for so many others. Nonetheless, I did absolutely lose some measure of innocence and wonder about the world, and my place in it, in a matter of minutes. I am now officially someone who tolerates, rather than enjoys, her birthday. On the flip side, I have a friend who I met six years ago who shares my birthday; it doesn’t seem to bother her at all.


62 Claire September 13, 2013 at 8:53 am

My son turned one this September 11th! I certainly would not have chosen that day! It feels awkward to say when people ask when his birthday is, because it’s a date that has so much weight to it. I think for him, growing up, it won’t matter, since it was before his time. It’s just for us, when we say it.

And I have a Christmas Eve birthday. Again, it’s not what I would have chosen, but my parents always did a good job at keeping the two celebrations separate. No doubling up on gifts :)


63 juliagblair September 13, 2013 at 9:16 am

My Birthday is Dec 28th. 3 days after Christmas and 3 days before New Years.
On my 12th B-day, after 5 younger brothers, I got a little sister. It was the happiest day of my life and I still remember her being the best B-day gift ever. Love celebrating this day with her. My Dad was born on Valentine’s Day and we always remember him on that day celebrating LOVE. Aug. 25 is a big shared B-day in our family and it is enhanced by the beauty of autumn and the beginning of another school year. I love associating beautiful memories with beautiful people and beauty all around. Of course the dark days come and go, but glow when we think of the light and wonder of the birth of remarkable people and the hope of new life and new beginnings and constant faith.


64 kimberly September 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

I was born on a roving civic holiday in August in Canada. First Monday of the month- so every 7 years I get the day off work! but its often a long weekend, smack in the middle of the summer. This is problematic as growing up, and still for always, people make other plans on the long weekend. Hard to get anyone to a party with me. My dad was born Boxing day and my best friend born new years eve. Poor dad always had to sacrifice one either Christmas or his birthday during the working years. my friend has maybe had one party her whole life which I’ve tried to rectify but with no success!


65 Shelley September 13, 2013 at 10:34 am

My Goddaughter was born the morning of 9/11.
I was watching the horrific event unfold on the tv when the phone rang.
I answered to receive the wonderful news of the birth of my friend’s baby girl. It felt surreal to be experiencing such joy for her and her birth and at the same time feeling devastated for the people in NY. I remember crying so many tears that day. Every year I have that same mix of happiness celebrating her birthday and sadness remembering the loss.


66 Andrea September 13, 2013 at 11:11 am

Oh, this must be hard. Losing someone early is so difficult. But then, to have loved them so much is a wonderful thing.

I’d love to hear more about your parents. You must have had a great childhood – you have such a terrific outlook on life and others that I am constantly impressed! And you and your siblings are so talented.

*Jordan sure looks like your dad! :)


67 Summer September 13, 2013 at 11:41 am

I was born on Mother’s Day and the day before my mother’s birthday (when I steal thunder, I STEAL THUNDER)! I actually kiiiind of hate it, because I always feel obligated to go in to see my mom, and it’s kiiiiind of my special time too. Also, she could have planned that better, just saying. ;)

My dad turned 70 in June. I think 1943 was a big year! So sorry that you lost your dad so young….I’d love to know more about him! :)

And now, an amusing 9/11 story: 9/11/01 was my friend’s 21st birthday. He started drinking when the clock struck midnight and ended up having such a fun birthday that he didn’t find out about 9/11 until 9/12. *shakes head* Only Jeff….


68 Laura September 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm

My birthday is the fourth of July, which I think is the absolute best day for a birthday. Everyone has the day off, there are usually parties and parades and BBQ — and fireworks! Even if you know they’re not for you, they’re a pretty dynamite way to celebrate : )

My twin daughters were born on Christmas Eve. I think that’s a hard birthday to make special, but we are finding ways to separate out time for birthday celebrations and time for Christmas. The crummy thing is that we haven’t yet really celebrated ON their actual birthday because we’re always traveling back home on the 24th. However, we have also chosen to make a big deal of their half-birthday on June 24th so that they can have a day far away from Christmas that feels like theirs, too. They do have the benefit on Christmas Eve, though, of being surrounded by family, which is pretty great.


69 Liz September 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm

My birthday is 9/11. We live in the New York region and I have a family member who survived the attacks on WTC in ’93 and 2001. It hit very close to home. It still always surprises me when people say 9/11 is a horrible day to have a birthday. I never know what to say. You can’t control the day you were born!


70 Patty September 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

About every 4th year, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving; I like it! I am also one year and 364 days older than my brother. I didn’t like that as much when we were younger (lots of shared birthday parties), but I like it more now. I think it helps me feel close to my brother, who also gets to celebrate an occasional “Thanksgiving” birthday.


71 Elisabeth September 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm

My birthday is on Christmas day, my dad’s is 5 days before Christmas, my brother was born the day before Thanksgiving, my mom’s birthday is the same day as father’s day this coming year, and my sister’s birthday sometimes falls on Easter- so we are plenty familiar with sharing our birthdays. I’ve always disliked having my birthday on Christmas. It’s nice to always have it off and Christmas is by far my favorite holiday (I absolutely love it, in fact!), but it’s hard to share my special day with such a big holiday. The one good part (and not so fun part): people usually know when my birthday is, but often forget it on the actual day!


72 jovana September 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm

“It was nice to have an excuse to talk about him.”

my mom died ten years ago (i was 17) and whenever her death comes up in conversation or when i talk about her, people always assume it’s sad and hard for me to talk about and apologize, but, like you, i’m always grateful for the opportunity to talk about her. it keeps the memory of her alive.


73 Issa September 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm

My daughter was born on Pearl Harbor day, in 2001. I know that my grandfather had a really hard time with it, but it’s not really something most people think about now. I feel like it was a generational thing. Not that I don’t ever think about Pearl Harbor Day, but it doesn’t affect me like it does the people who lived through it.

Pretty sure our generations version of Pearl Harbor is 9/11.

Mine is Columbine. Also Hitler’s birthday. I don’t think about Columbine happening on my birthday as a huge deal, even though I live in Denver. I’m not sure why, but I just don’t. However I STRONGLY wish people would stop reminding me that Hitler and I share a birthday. My dad is first generation American. His dads family escaped Poland, his moms Russia. It’s the knowledge of what happened to my family that makes me hate being reminded. Every year someone has to remind me, as if I’ve never heard it before.


74 Ann September 13, 2013 at 2:34 pm

This is such an interesting topic! One I find very interesting since I have two sons, one born on leap day, and the other born on Christmas day. I also have a daughter who was born on Hitlers birthday, a fact I only know because a stranger told me so. I was very excited to have our sons on each of these days. We celebrate our leaplings birthday on the first of March on non leap years because in our minds, that’s the day he would’ve been born. And then every leap year he gets to have a really big celebration! He’s five now, so he sort of understands the concept. He loves to tell strangers he is only one years old.

As for our Christmas baby, I’m still not sure how or when we’ll choose to celebrate it each year as he is only 1.5 years old. I think we will always have a few traditions on that day, like balloons covering the floor by the Christmas tree, maybe a special birthday breakfast etc etc. I think I’ll let him decide as he gets older if he would like to celebrate it before or after with his friends. Some valuable lessons I learned on his first birthday were: 1. I can no longer procrastinate at this time of year, if I want to give my family the Christmas they all deserve, and him the Birthday celebration that he deserves too. (last Christmas I ended up wrapping presents and blowing up balloons until 3 in the morning. Then I woke up at 5 am to bake a cake!) As a result I felt almost as exhausted as I did the same day a year before, when I had him! 2. I can’t change the fact that for everyone else (friends, relatives) it will be hard in all the Christmas shuffle for them to remember his bday. It’s not personal, it’s just too busy a time of year. To make it even and fair for all our children, me and my husband have decided that we’ll have a “no present” policy (excepting grandparents because they love to give so much) at birthday parties, that way we can control the exact amount and also the types of toys (no more play-doh toys;) Maybe it seems like not a fun solution, but honestly, they don’t need all those toys anyway:)

I love that they were born on those days, and in my eyes, makes them all the more special and unique. I’m looking forward to finding fun ways to celebrate with them.


75 KelliO September 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

My grandfather was born on Friday, April 13. I didn’t know him well, but the family story is that he was suspicious, and never celebrated his birthday on the 13th, no matter the day of the week! My birthday is the 14th, so I think of him, and every Friday the 13th- like today!- reminds me of him, too. I actually enjoy them more because of it.


76 Gina September 14, 2013 at 1:41 am

I love that you did spread a little of his sunny yellow!


77 ruth September 14, 2013 at 8:41 am

I share my birthday with my sister, but 3 years apart. I always loved how it made our day unique and special. Unfortunately my sister, being the first born, did not see it that way and felt cheated out of her own day, especially as a 3 year old having her birthday marked by the arrival of a new baby(according to my mum!). I believe this simple event has somewhat defined the dynamics of our family, my mother over compensated for the guilt she felt and placed my sister in a position of the poor victim, indulging her every wim and making her very spoilt and juvenile (even now at the age of 48!). As a child I was always “the strong and independent one that didn’t need much looking after” according to my mum and hence we have all spent our whole lives taking care of and trying to make my sister happy! I moved from the UK to the US 10 years ago and think part of me was running away for them. I know that the same scenario could of unfolded even without the birthday but it’s so interesting how a small event can have such impact.


78 Jenn September 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm

My wedding anniversary is 9/11 and I was in the North Tower of WTC so it’s a bittersweet moment each year. I try to keep in mind it was good day for me because I married the love of my life on that day and I was able to return to him 2years later. They first anniversary was extremely hard, I was pregnant and in NYC. I didn’t know of any place to go for the day that wasn’t grief stricken. We ended going to the Bronx Zoo and it was the best place. We were among other families with children so seemed wanted the same place to escape the day. Every year I remember the event in the morning by watching the memorial service then at 8:35 I speak with my friend who walked down the stairs with me. After that I spend it with my family ever grateful I survived and that they were not able to take that day for me.


79 Matisse Madden September 14, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Your Dad looks like a total stud. I am sorry for your loss. He must be very proud of you and your crew up there in Heaven!

My Birthday is May 4th (“May the forth be with you”), it is a great day to be born. However, last year, my sweet Grandfather passed away on my birthday. It was very sad for me and my family. In spite of all the negative conotations of this coincidence, I consider it an honor to share the day with him. He was a very good person and I know his enterence into heaven was a happy one. I believe he was reunited with his own parents, brothers and of course his Heavenly parents on my birthday. Parting is indeed sweet sorrow.


80 mandi@herbanhomestead September 15, 2013 at 9:31 am

It’s been good reading all of these stories. I’m a Christmas Eve baby. I like it for the most part because as an adult, I get to be with my siblings on my birthday! They live in Seattle and I’m in Texas, so this is the only real time we get to see each other- and it makes my birthday very special. However, sometimes I wish for a day that wasn’t spent on rushing to get packed and out of the house for Christmas celebrating. Where I could go out or at least get a cake. And not get the ubiquitous bday/merry Christmas text! Ha! But all in all- it’s good. I don’t know any different! My one year old was born on Leap Day! I wonder how she will feel about this as she grows???


81 dj September 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Our son’s first birthday was the day following 9/11. We celebrated as planned. How could we not celebrate the life that God, in His wisdom and mercy, had chosen to share with us?
Every year, as 9/11 observations are on-going, we are preparing to celebrate our son’s birthday. I weep for those lost, wonder at the bravery of the first responders (my husband is a firefighter), and move ahead with our family’s plans. I remember what President Bush said in the days following the attack — that to change the way we live is to let our enemies win. It also would lessen the sacrifice of those NYC heroes. We remember them, we honor them, and we live the lives we are blessed to have because there are free men who choose to stand between tyranny and us.


82 penny September 11, 2014 at 8:53 am

I know this is slightly off topic but this article really confused me: isn’t today 11/9? I checked my calender (digitally) about four times already because I’m so freaked out… Why are you all talking about “yesterday”?


83 penny September 11, 2014 at 8:55 am

I’m sorry I meant 9/11, now I’m completely lost it seems…


84 Design Mom September 11, 2014 at 9:12 am

Penny, the post you are reading was written last year, the day after September 11th. Sorry to confuse you!


85 Renee September 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Happy Birthday to your dad, in Heaven. My son (4 1/2) is obsessed with yellow also. I love that about him. So unique as a favorite color, and so happy, as well.


86 Kelly September 12, 2015 at 11:11 pm

Oh, yes! Mr. Stanley and his yellow…everything. I distinctly remember his yellow watch. I also remember him insisting that you say “zero” instead of “oh” when giving your phone number during roll call at school.


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