Birthdays were important to me as a child because I perceived that people appreciated having them. It appeared that a birthday contained friends, family, cake, and presents all on the same day. Birthday girls and boys smiled and said thank you. They laughed and ran joyously through their homes.
One problem for me though was that birthday parties tended to have themes that I didn’t understand and then at some point as a young teen, I lost my excitement for my birthday. It seemed that as I grew I heard more apologies and justifications for lack of preparations. If I did receive gifts, they were often strange and distantly nothing that represented who I felt I was. I was always encouraged to acknowledge other peoples birthdays, but it seemed that mine went unnoticed by some of the people most important to me. My favorite winter birthday song was always scrapped by the end of the winter holidays because people perceived it as a Christmas song. It rarely snowed on Christmas, and then also would not snow on my day. As a result of all of this, I now have a very strange relationship with my birthday. It seems to have nothing to do with me.
What has fascinated me over the years is how much some people love their birthdays. Some very mature middle age adults celebrate all month, some have parties planned for them while others plan their own celebrations. Some talk about their birthday as if it is a big deal every single year but I am sure that many people simply trudge through their day while others are not even sure when theirs is.
This morning I opened up my college year books to discover that two of them contain a picture of me wearing a tiara and celebrating my birthday. I know for a fact that I had not planned these parties and these photos re-gifted the appreciation my college friends had for me.
Every year my husband asks me what I want for my birthday. I do not envy the guy for having to deal with my desire for my childhood perception and my consequential anxiety over the day. Last year I told him that I simply wanted everyone to acknowledge my birthday on my birthday and I pretty much received this gift.
But really, my ideal birthday would be to be the center of glitz, glory, and a big party in solitude where everybody and nobody acknowledges the day, and I receive the coolest gifts along side receiving absolutely nothing. The party would be in a snow bound cabin with a fire burning, and we would all get there by a horse drawn sleigh while singing Sleigh Ride.