I called my friend the other day and said I wanted to do something for my husband’s birthday. She’s was like “yeah, birthdays are no big deal at our house.” Which is no surprise, cause her favorite word is it “whatevs”…and she is also my favorite person to invite out at any given time because generally she is not doing anything and is quite content with this- which I love about her. So her words kept echoing in my head, kind of like that Brady Bunch episode where they broke the vase with the basketball. Her response echoed like that. The voice kept repeating just like Bobby’s conscience “Mom always said don’t play ball in the house, mom always said, don’t play ball in the house.” Although the voice and the broken vase clearly symbolic of my dis-ease with her response…. the splintering crack in my heart was spreading, “Birthday’s aren’t special…..the disappointment set in as did the meaning underlying her words. “I could take your company or leave it” is how I heard it. Truth is, if she jumped at the opportunity to hang out with me, this would sit uneasy with me too, in an annoying sort of way. It’s like an overly smitten date. I could go on about being twenty and a guy liking me and buying me gifts, it’s immediately suspect or disingenuous…..unlike birthdays they are as real as the day you were born.
Let it be known this is neither friend-bashing nor birthday-bashing it’s simply a few personal thoughts about birthdays. If anything is special, it is the day you burst forth onto this earth like a crocus in winter. Song birds sing for birthdays in my book! Etta James sings my birthday song or Marilyn Monroe when I blow out my candles. The only thing that could possibly soil the song of birthdays is those waiters at Red Robin. On birthday’s people should indeed take to the microphone to announce this is the day all pink, blotchy and in the brand new flesh, they arrived! Even today, when a baby is born I go to the hospital with Gerber Daisies and bring a snuggly downy blanket for their first ever car ride home. It can be drafty on newborn skin….I also bring a daily newspaper from “their” day jamm packed with
history of their day! I even present my children’s presents to them at 6:04 a.m. and 9:10 am just as sure as the nurse produced this gift to me all pinchy-faced, crumply-eared and crying tears of confusion or mixed feelings about their arrival… or the appearance of the disheveled grinning lady who birthed them? Still it occurs to me that I quite disagree that birthdays are no big deal. Birthdays are where the big deal begins.
For starters, the rarity of the moment, the mathematical probability is quite low, 25% for prime baby making ages; twenty five year olds, and 10% for those career fetchers whose life had many chapters before baby, the thirty fives. I mean, if this were a sale at Macy’s It would NOT appear to be that great? http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/08/mathematical-probability-getting-pregnant/55255/
So again, Birthdays are a big deal because, they are your personal holiday. There are no pressures or mixed feeling about hanging out with family members or which side to hang with. You are obliged to show up for no one but yourself, cause- it’s your day! Yep-that’s right-no need to partake in discussions with overly drunken relatives, you can even skip dinner for a massage. Wow-this sheds new light on how cool it is to have a birthday on a holiday. Hall pass! You no longer have to drink yourself into oblivion to get through it (or watch painfully). Shit, that IS how I got through holidays, ewwww!?! And don’t forget those soft spoken words of relatives directly somewhere outside of the range of eyeshot…. How are you? Posed as genuinely as the heap of mashed potatoes served up without gravy! On your birthday, you can have your own dish, be it buttery mashed potatoes served in bed or……perhaps even your wife and request it be made WITH Gravy as it should be!
I Love birthdays!