This post isn't exactly timely in the sense that it has nothing to do with Advent, Christmas or the Mayan Un-Apocalypse. This post is about something that's been brewing since October. You see, friends, I had a birthday. The number isn't even remotely important, but rather that it was my birthday. As I recall I had more than one person upset that I didn't make a big deal out of the fact that it was my birthday. Not because I'm ashamed of my age (wooo! 30!), but because, for me, birthdays are not that big of a deal. Don't get me wrong, I will celebrate the crap out of your birthday. I will work excessively hard picking out THE perfect gift to make you smile. If I have occasion to I will make you a cake, possibly from scratch, and I will get loads of candles and sing "Happy Birthday" to you so loud and ridiculously that you'll be embarrassed. Because that's how I roll. On your birthday, anyway.
On my birthday, however, I prefer a more incognito approach. I will stay home if I can. I won't give you any good gift ideas (because I really don't need anything I don't already have, except for clothes for some reason). I won't want you to take me out to a restaurant and have waiters and waitresses sing enthusiastically while I wear a silly hat. If possible, I would simply have most people in the world not even notice my birthday at all. That's easier said than done in the age of Facebook, of course. If you simply wish me a happy birthday, I will be delighted of course, but I won't want a fuss beyond that. It gave me great joy this year that I managed to have my birthday pass by unnoticed by my Moms group, much to the chagrin of one of my closest friends (mwahah!). On a select few occasions, such a very cool concert, I have gone out for my birthday, but my preference is to stay in. I kid you not when I say that I honestly do not even want presents. I get that it makes everyone else feel great to give (as I said, I myself LOVE to pick out that perfect present when I know it'll make YOU smile), but for me, I'd rather see you take that money and spend some quality time with a loved one.
Growing up, I recall feeling much the same way. I didn't have a lot of birthday parties, though evidence shows my parents had several for me before I was old enough to say yes or no. I preferred sleepovers when I was little. As I got older, I just wanted to stay in with my folks and have a meal. My family has one birthday tradition that I loved, which was that whoever's birthday it was could pick what we had for supper. Just so you know, and I know you're dying to know, I almost always chose tortellini. I loves me my carbs. We'd almost always finish it off with an ice-cream cake Mom would pick out that day, or a few days before. I remember the year she special ordered a turkey-shaped ice-cream cake for my oldest brother. (That, by the way, was one of many moments that proved my family was a little weird.) Gift wise, unless I had something really particular in mind, my folks would pick out something on the more or less random side of things. When I was still young enough to live at home, I recall my Mom proudly presenting me with a cast iron stand-alone coat rack, so I could "hang up you coat upstairs instead of leaving it on the floor". Thanks, Mom. Haha. It became something of a gag over the years and eventually I re-gifted it to my Mom when I moved out, so she could, y'know, "hang up your towels instead of just leaving them on the floor". Yeah. We're a fun family.
Some people might think I'm bitter or whatever and that's why I don't want to make a big deal, but it couldn't be further from the truth. I can hardly be bitter when by and large the reason my family celebrated my birthday the way they did was because I asked them to. Even as a kid I didn't get the big deal. Yeah, of course, wish me a happy birthday (and I will be deadly hurt if my family forgets THAT), but beyond that I don't want or need anything. Except for maybe some tortellini and my hands on the remote control for the night. I've got everything I need in my life, my husband and our kids, a loving extended family, and all the necessities to get through the day. Everything else pales in comparison. So next year when my birthday rolls around, don't worry about it. Unless you are married to me or are the woman who gave birth to me (or are married to her), I don't need or expect a "Happy Birthday" from you (though that's nice, of course). If you insist that you can't pass the date without giving me something, please consider taking that money and giving it to a charity to help those who aren't as lucky as I am year round. I may have a big personality sometimes, but what I'm really about is celebrating the gifts I get to have all year. So give me your warm wishes, give me your prayers, but most of all, give me the time to celebrating who you are to me, not just that I had the good fortune to be born.