Birthdays are a funny thing. On the one hand, no one over 40 wants to get any older. On the other hand, it’s my special day, and I want people to notice, let me know I’m special, and give me presents–who doesn’t want that on their birthday?
When you have a birthday that is four days after Christmas, this presents a challenge. The good things about my birthday are..
-I NEVER had to go to school on my birthday. I ALWAYS had the day off, so school wasn’t a problem, although I have worked a few years on my birthday, and that was a drag. But, then I never got to bring treats on my birthday, or have the birthday crown and all that stuff, either.
-End of the year clearance sales. I remember one year my mom took me shopping at a certain store on my birthday and they were barely open. “Doing Inventory” they said. But I did manage to find this certain doll that I wanted, even though they were hardly helpful.
-It’s at least better than having your birthday ON CHRISTMAS DAY, which is when my brother’s birthday is. (My Dad’s birthday is on December 20, too. My poor mom! I also have an uncle and a cousin with a December 26th birthday, so I am in good company)
-Because so many people forget on my actual birthday, presents trickle in for days afterward. Even up to a month after. One year my hubby decreed that we would celebrate my birthday on JANUARY 29th, and we did. It was GREAT! Because really, who cares if you celebrate on the actual day of your birth, as long as you are celebrated, right?
That’s about it for the perks of this birthday date.
Both my brother and I were kind of hosed in the birthday department. My mom would try to have parties for us, but who has a birthday party on Christmas? No one, that’s who. And on the 29th? Not many. People are either out of town, or they just don’t remember in the after Christmas lull. Often we would each get to invite a friend and we’d all go to a movie or skating or something. When I got old enough to do my own parties, I would often have a slumber party, which worked well, since there wasn’t school to clutter up our young lives.
Now that I’m a grown up, I usually buy some things I want, and give them to hubby and tell him to have people wrap them. Yes, I am buying my own presents, but do you blame me? My husband is wonderful and amazing, but bless his heart, he doesn’t always do great in the birthday department. There was one year he went above and beyond and got me a fridge. And he didn’t just get the fridge, he bought it, hid it at the neighbors, cleaned out the old fridge and installed the new fridge ALL in SECRET after I had gone to bed. Can you believe that?
One year I had the birthday blues and really just felt sorry for myself. It seemed that everyone but my mom had forgotten my birthday that year, and I think the kids and Ryan had gotten me a spatula and a slotted spoon or something like that for presents (this was before I started buying my own presents). The kicker was when I went to church a day or two after my birthday and listened to a “year in review” in Relief Society when the president gave a wrap up of what the relief society had accomplished that year. She said something like, “And we personally visited each sister on her birthday.” I started to cry and left the room, because they hadn’t visited me. Because usually when an organization decides what they are doing for the birthdays that year, they are burned out by December and just forget the after Christmas stuff. I KNEW I was just being stupid, but I really felt picked on.
After that experience in church, I decided I had to grow up (literally) and get over it. If I wanted to have a good birthday, I needed to make it happen myself. I needed to change my attitude.
When I turned 40, I threw myself a party. I arranged a place to hold it, invited people, made the food, etc. I had a friend who insisted that I shouldn’t be planning my own party, but I didn’t mind. She did insist on buying the cake so that I didn’t have to get my own cake. But I have seen what she does for birthdays at her house, and she’s pretty amazing, so I can see where she’s coming from.
My birthday was on a Sunday this year, which usually means it’s going to be pretty low key. However, I had planned a get together with friends for the day before my birthday. It was actually our Christmas party, but that was the day that worked. To me, it felt like a birthday party. There were presents and food and ice cream, so I’m counting it! On Sunday morning we got up early to go to a friend’s mission homecoming. Afterward there was food and mingling at the house. More people, food and laughter, it was like ANOTHER PARTY! WE came home from that and skipped out on our own church and I took a nap. A BIRTHDAY NAP! After the nap, I got a surprise visit from my sweet visiting teacher. She had a gift for me. She said, “I told myself I was NOT going to forget your birthday this time! I always miss it and end up giving you your gift in January, but NOT this time!” I was touched and impressed. And she gave me a cute necklace that I really love. I did make dinner, but my family made a cake. A CAKE! Usually we are sugared out by this time and we skip the cake, but Natalie and Ryan made a cake and even frosted it! Color me impressed.
I got several cards, emails, and texts to wish me a happy birthday, but FACEBOOK really is the biggest perk for birthdays. Every one of your friends sees that it’s your birthday, and I got over 100 birthday greetings on facebook that day. LOVE IT!!! Say what you want about facebook, but I think it’s especially great when I get greetings from long lost, or even close by friends, who normally would not remember or even know that it’s my birthday.
After dinner, we were watching Amazing Race (reruns) and my parents called and said they wanted to come over and play some games. Instant party!!! Hooray!
So we played games, ate some cheese ball, and had cake. It was a fun night!
While we were playing, there was another ring of the doorbell, and there was Ron (my friend Robin’s husband), with a birthday gift for me. He said he just came from Arizona where Robin was lamenting that it was too late to mail me a gift, and yet again she would miss my birthday. So, he BROUGHT me some lemons and tangelos from Arizona, packaged up in the cutest happy birthday bag. ( He was coming back to Utah anyway, it’s not like he came JUST to deliver something for me, but how sweet that he came over). What a wonderful surprise!
Monday was declared VACUUM DAY. It’s a new holiday in which everyone cleans and vacuums their rooms. The kids weren’t too hip on Vacuum day, but we declared it, and everyone did it. Ryan and I even cleaned up our mess of a room. And the best part of vacuum day was going to lunch at Los Hermanos.
Megan had decided she wanted to take the family out to eat (on her dime!) so we chose to go to Los Hermanos for our favorite Mexican food. We even told them I was celebrating my birthday so they brought out a free fried ice cream and sang happy Birthday to me (I told them my name was Susan, so they actually sang to SUSAN, but it still counts).
So, no bummer birthday for me this year! It took an attitude change on my part, and some thoughtful friends who are determined to remember my special day. I still don’t like getting older, but I can deal with the celebration part.