So. Um. As you read this, it is my birthday.
(An aside, when I was very little, I thought that it was an absolute TRAGEDY that anyone had to work or do anything on my birthday that wasn’t a celebration of MEEEEE. How on earth could that happen? And then, as I got closer to the double digits, I finally comprehended that absolutely every single person had a birthday. I cannot tell you how disgusted I was when I learned that mine was not, actually, special to everyone else on the planet.)
I love birthdays. I am one of those curmudgeons who hate all of the manufactured holidays and forced gift-giving that is the guilt-fest of Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Wears Bermuda Shorts Day. But birthdays? They are fun. Wonderful to celebrate. (And I honestly do not mean with gifts. My family and I do not exchange gifts on birthdays except for the little kids among us.) (Did I mention I’m still a little kid?) (Ha.)
My husband cracks up laughing because every year, I start thinking about my birthday in April, and I automatically adjust my age a year up. And then sometime along about the end of May, because I’ve been saying the higher number, someone will inevitably ask how old I will be on my birthday and I’ll think of the number I’ve been saying and then add one more, since my birthday would be on the horizon. Then a few days later, on or right before the day, I’ll realize my math mistake and have to subtract a year. This happens EVERY SINGLE YEAR. And not on purpose. You’d think after 47 years, I could learn simple math. Then he’ll laugh because he knows I’m going to stay up ’til midnight (because I have to ring my birthday in with a wish) and the next night, I’ll stay up ’til midnight (because I want to end the day with reflection and evaluations and a prayer.) This is my own personal New Year, where I think about who I’ve been, parse through the failures, look at what I’ve achieved and resolve what I’d like to become over the next year.
Plus. BIRTHDAY CAKE.
You know, what’s not to love?
My absolute worst birthday was when I was eleven. 11. My birthday is June 11th (in case I haven’t said that enough times yet) and being 11 on the 11th was THE COOLEST THING EVER. I may have said that about sixty quibillion times leading up to that birthday, and I might have possibly implied that I was going to be the Supreme Commander of the Universe as a result of being 11 on the 11th… I don’t know what it was, exactly, that set the wheel of doom in motion, but I can still remember in crystal clarity how much my little brother COMPLETELY SUCKED and RUINED THE DAY and yes, I am 47, and am over it. (Almost.) I am not kidding when I tell you that he pulled out Every. Single. Annoying. Mean. Thing. He. Could. Do. And did them, over and over and over. My parents were at work, there was birthday cake for the evening, plenty of favorite snack foods available, a book I was looking forward to lazing in the bed all day and reading (still my favorite birthday habit), and he DRUMMED on my door. For hours. (Which was only the beginning of my personal hell.) The only reason I did not go out of that room and beat him to a pulp was that I was wearing a brand new shirt and I didn’t want to get blood on it. Seriously. He totally owes his life to a little blue t-shirt.
My absolute best birthday, though, was in 2006. I am not sure anything can top standing in a bookstore for the first time as an author and seeing my book at the “New in Fiction” table. It was real. My dream was real. I was an honest-to-God author of a novel.
So today, my oldest son and his wife are coming in to town and we’ll visit and probably go out to eat with them and the youngest group and basically, be lazy. It will be a terrific birthday, because everyone is safe. Healthy. Working toward their dreams. It doesn’t get much better than that.
How about you? I know you have a birthday, so what day is it? (You are not obligated to tell the year, or how old you are.) What was your worst birthday? And your favorite? Or what would you like to do to celebrate your next birthday?