3.15.2009

The One About Birthdays

Birthdays.  Everyone has one.  Whether you like it or not.  Mine was
in February. It was the 26th. Feel free to mark it down so you can
send me a gift next year. Or a belated one this year. I am a huge
believer in birthdays. Which is an odd thing to say. They do exist
you know. And yet, there are those who like to pretend they don’t.

I happen to have several friends who don’t “do” birthdays. Their own
that is. They “do” celebrate other people’s birthdays. Which is very
gracious. On the one hand, as a supporter of doing your own thing on
your birthday, I say go ahead, ignore it. On the other hand, it is me
who is a part of the equation. If I choose, you will feel Jane love
and you may be gifted or caked so suck it up.

Other than my 18th birthday when my friends surprised me at an ice
cream parlor (where I received lottery tickets—I didn’t win-- and the
only copy of Playgirl I’ve ever seen), I have been the one who has
planned my birthdays. Sometimes I have gathered friends at a favorite
restaurant. Other times I have cooked a big meal and had people over.
It all depends upon my mood. But I have never, ever, ignored it.
And don’t plan on doing so in the future.

Perhaps it’s because I’m just a hair over 30. Maybe it’s the aging
process that’s getting to my friends. Huh. One of my anti-birthday
friends is just 21 so it can’t be that. It could’ve been something
unpleasant happened on a birthday once. That’s happened to everybody.
Get over it. Life is short. Have a little fun.

Approach your birthday the way Anna Grace and Jenna do. They’ve been
talking about their birthdays since November. Anna Grace will turn
four in May and Jenna will turn three in August (on the 23rd). Every
day we talk about their birthdays. Every. Single. Day.

We talk about who will have a birthday before their birthday that they
know. Brien is next. Then their great Aunt Frances, and then
cousins Melissa, Thomas and Eric. Then their daddy. We talk about
what the weather will be like on their respective birthdays. That
would be hot at the end of May and super hot at the end of August. We
discuss what we did for their birthdays last year and how we plan to
do it-- but bigger this year. We have been planning their birthdays
for five months now. Which reminds me, I really need to actually plan
something and not just go along with their discussion.

Though Anna Grace’s birthday party, which falls around and sometimes
on Memorial Day (hers is May 26), was a huge success last year. Her
best bud Blake came over. The girls had grown out of their bathing
suits so they just ran into this thing we have that’s not really a
sprinkler. It does shoot out water at the bottom and balance golf
ball sized balls on water bursts and then spits the balls out into the
yard. It also makes an enormous mud puddle. What they remember most
is the mud. Three kids and some mud. We hosed them off, sugared them
up, and everyone was happy. Happy enough to remember it all year
long.

Maybe you non-believers in birthdays ought to try that. Count the
days until your birthday. Accept your gifts like they’re just what
you wanted even if there’s nothing you need. Take your shirt off with
your bestest bud. Play in the mud and have some cake. It just might
change your whole attitude about birthdays. Unless you’re me, you’re
going to age so you might as well enjoy it.