Birthdays have never been a big deal for me. I’ve never been the type to count down the days and I can’t remember ever feeling different when it comes around. In fact, since my birthday falls in the beginning of the month, I’m almost always caught off-guard. It’s March 6? Already?
In my eighteen years of living at home, I can only recall 4 birthdays when I had an actual party. Before any “deprived childhood!” accusations ring out, let me clarify. We always had cake and opened presents with the family, but a party wasn’t an every-year thing. Looking back, I realize that they were stressful events for my mom and I didn’t really miss them. As long as I had cake (mm, marble cake), I was good to go.
Lack of parties notwithstanding, I still had my share of memorable birthdays:
- 7: We had a snow day! I went sledding and opened presents in the same day!
- 10: I had a double birthday party with my friend from gymnastics. Our moms treated all of the girls from the gym to pizza and we played charades. I remember trying to act out “possum.”
- 16: My friends threw me a Sweet Sixteen party that involved a dull game of Truth or Dare (winning questions included, “What did you get on the SATs?” and “What is your biggest regret?”) and the smart idea to throw me up in the air to “see if RA can do a basket toss.” Thankfully, no one was hurt.
- 18: A giant blizzard closed school for two days, including my birthday. I was so disappointed that I wasn’t able to walk through school and gloat about being able to buy things I had no intention of purchasing, like cigarettes and lottery tickets. To my surprise, several snow-delayed flower arrangements were delivered to my house the day after my birthday.
- 19: My then-boyfriend had broken up with me two or three days before, so my floormates threw me a calzone party and bought a cake that said, “Happy Birthday, RaRa!” Then all of the girls ate candy and watched The Wedding Planner. It was exactly what I needed.
- 21: JG took me out for dinner and my first drink and I was terrified of getting drunk because I had zero alcohol tolerance. I ordered a strawberry daiquiri that ended up much being much bigger and pinker than I had expected and I barely finished it by the end of the night. JG chuckled at me all throughout the meal because he knew that I kept asking myself, “Am I drunk? Is this what it feels like?”
I know I should be excited about the year ahead of me, but I just don’t get that excited on birthdays. I had bigger thrills on the first day of school or on our wedding anniversary; to me, birthday mostly says, “Congratulations for still being alive,” and I have to remember to say my updated age if anybody asks. The fact that today is Tuesday didn’t exactly invite an all-out party, either.
But when I came in to work this morning, there were birthday signs wallpapering my desk. The e-cards in my inbox produced welcome laughs during a particularly stressful morning and my co-workers even signed a fantastic card. There’s a giant crowd of penguins on the front and one of them is wearing an enormous sombrero. The inside reads, “Happy Birthday to Juan in a million!” Ha! Juan in a million! I love it. I’m not used to a whole big birthday thing, but I must admit that I enjoy a day that’s all mine.
Tonight, JG is cooking me a yummy dinner. Birthdays for us consist of whatever the birthday person likes to do, so I requested steamed mussels and pasta, with tiramisu for dessert while we watch the new episode of Gilmore Girls. Woo! We know how to party it up, let me tell you. On Saturday, JG is taking me out to an undisclosed location that he refuses to divulge and my sneaky attempts at trickery (“So where are we going, again?”) have proved fruitless. Ah, well. Maybe that’s what I’ll wish for when I blow out the candle on my tiramisu.