Saturday, February 2, 2008

It Was My Birthday

Friday was my birthday. I am 40ahemmumbleahem years old. It was a good birthday. By that, I mean that it was remembered by many people this year.

Let me back up. Growing up, our birthdays were special. My Mom made them a huge event. I don't mean that we got a lot of stuff or had huge parties. We did not have a lot of money but she made it our day, all about us.

We had parties with our friends. Mom always made the cake and themed it - mine was always a pink heart cake because it's in February. She also made lots of homemade games for the party. One was a paper plate with a cat face drawn on it and a big circle cut out for a mouth. Then she balled up peices of aluminum foil and we had to throw the tin balls through the mouth of the cat hanging in a doorway. Another was a paper bag, open on the floor. We stood with our toes touching it holding wooden clothespins. We had to look straight ahead and drop the clothespins into the paper bag. It's harder than it sounds.

When we got older, we got to pick a restaurant and we all went out to eat. Those were days when eating out was a special treat. To allow the birthday kid to pick the restaurant, any restaurant, was a risky thing when parents are living paycheck to paycheck. But they did it. It was our day.

Our birthdays were special. I did the same thing for my kids. When you grow up, people laugh if you feel like your birthday is supposed to be special. You learn to be embarrased about drawing all that attention to yourself. Is that called growing up? I don't know. But I do know that the feeling of being special on your birthday is still there no matter how old you are.

Last year was not a good birthday. Dad forgot it for the second year. I thought that the amount of grief I had given him over the previous year would have spurred him to make an effort. Nope. The directors that worked for me forgot. Every one of them. My kids remembered about 3pm and apologized for not getting a present. Other friends and co-workers also forgot. A couple of my siblings remembered the next day and apologized. Along about 9pm that night I sat on the bed and cried. My daughter apologized for not getting me anything. I explained that it wasn't about the presents. It was about remembering. Knowing that people forgot. It was a huge pity party. My birthday pity party.

This year was so different. My daughter started the birthday countdown 3 weeks ago. "Mom, it's 12 days till your birthday." "Mom, did you know it's only 6 days to your birthday?" So many people called me and sent emails. My directors got me a beautiful edible arrangement of fruit that looks like a basket of flowers - see today's picture. My kids and their significant others took me out to eat and to a movie. We had a great evening. When we got home at 11pm, I had a message from my brother and missed calls from my youngest sister and my in-laws. My middle sister text messaged me at about 12:30am. I teased her that technically she missed it. She insisted that because she is on central time, it was still my birthday. She gets credit.

Did my Dad make it this year? No, he didn't. He did leave me a message this morning apologizing. He sounded really sincere. I believe him. He is doing the best he can.

So do I sound spoiled? Maybe. But I don't think there is any reason why one day a year, it can't be all about me. Or you. We do so much for others, we need a day that people show us how much they care. Not with gifts. Letting people know they are remembered is so much better.

3 comments:

Ruth D~ said...

Happy Birthday-- belated, but not because I forgot! :>)

I know what you're saying here. It's all about someone who cares remembering because you matter to them.

Ruth D~ said...

Happy Birthday-- belated, but not because I forgot! :>)

I know what you're saying here. It's all about someone who cares remembering because you matter to them.

Ruth D~ said...

Now how the heck did that happen? One's to make up for last year.