Birthdays are big deals. They provide a wonderful moment to pause, look back, dream forward and celebrate with family and friends in the here and now.
Birthdays don’t play a prominent role in Austen’s novels, but they do in her few surviving letters. I like that because it shows a wonderful emotional connectedness to her family and to the life going on around her.
We all know her sister Cassandra destroyed the vast majority of Austen’s letters, but a few survived – letters to nieces and other family members. In these, she displays her incomparable wit – even writing one backwards – and a true interest in everyone’s life. And she talks about birthdays – royal birthdays, neighbor birthdays, family birthdays and even dates one letter “Chawton, Sunday, June 23rd, Uncle Charles’s birthday.”
That “date” particularly struck me. We mark time in so many way – weeks, months, seasons, semesters, quarters… Why not mark it between the birthdays family and close friends?
Anyone celebrating a birthday this month? And, if so, Happy Birthday!