How can one not feel grateful on a child's birthday? Explanations and elaborations upon this experience are unnecessary-to comment on being grateful is superfluous.
Yet, the sense of being grateful strangely carries with it emotional warning signs deeply embedded in the human psych that can interfere with our capacity to feel grateful.
Many are inclined to sing praises of their loved ones publicly in an attempt to boast of their successes and achievements. They are proud of their childrens' accomplishments and proclaim the reasons for all to see and hear- witness the signs at the rear of many SUVs announcing to all -"My son/daughter is an honor student!"
Gratefulness emerges in a context not of pride but of humility.I demean not the "nachas" and pride that parents feel; however, from a spiritual point of view, gratefulness grounded in a sense of humility is by far the richer and more meaningful experience and attitude.
So, in this spirit I try to reach out to the horizon of boundless gratitude for God's blessings upon my son-his life, his health, his sense of joy, his good naturedness and his love of family and friends. In the words of the Haggadah-the Passover prayer booklet-DAYENU-all this is more than enough. How much more so should I be grateful for that which my son has been blessed with beyond the above.
"Shehehcheyanu v'keyemanu lazman hazeh"-I thank the Source of Life for keeping me and my loved ones alive to experience this day. Amen