I love my birthday.
I hate that I love my birthday.
I think it all started because I have a summer birthday. As a child with a summer birthday, it’s a lot like having a birthday on Christmas; everyone’s off doing other, non-birthday things. They are out of town. They are at the lake, the beach, the grandparents’. The one place they are certainly not? At your six-year old park birthday party in the city’s sweltering 100+ degree heat, playing pin the tail on the donkey and burning their bum on the plastic swings.
Ah, poor me, right?
I am though, much as I loathe to admit, one who loves/hates to have a fuss made over her. When it comes to my birthday, I’m the worst kind of friend/daughter/wife/sister to have. “Don’t make a big deal of it!” followed a week later by a sharply disappointed, “Why didn’t anyone make a big deal of it?”
I know, I know.
I wish I could tell you that this time - on my 42nd birthday - I will be different. I want to tell you that this on this birthday, it will not matter in the least whether my mom calls me, or my sister; I want to say it won’t mean a thing if I don’t get my usual thoughtful gift from my husband, my handmade cards from the kids. Really, I do so want to be over my birthday, but there’s just something that keeps me eternally six-years old when July 18th rolls around, still wondering whether the kids will show up to my party or not.
One year – I was probably seven or eight – my mom decided (to help avoid any disappointment) that we would forego the usual summer celebration and instead mark my half birthday, in January. She surprised me by bringing donuts to school for my entire class; every kid let out a squeal of joy like I was giving away trips to Disneyland. I was the hero of the day and it felt amazing, mostly because I had no idea it was coming. That’s the thing with zero expectations – overdelivering is much more doable.
Perhaps next year I should have my husband reschedule my birthday altogether and not tell me. It’ll be just like donut day, only we will have mimosas to go with them.
Consider yourself officially invited.