Forgive me if I've written this blog before...it seems like I have but I cannot find it in the archives...could be that I am getting old. And on that note!!!
August is birthday month! August 13th kicks off birthday week! The weekend before or after the birthday is birthday weekend! August 20th is THE DAY! The rest of August is still birthday month! Yay!! Anyone who has been friends with me for any length of time knows that I announce on August 1st we have entered birthday month and will get reminders all through out the month as to where we stand right now. For anyone who is new they get a little confused or bemused by this proclamation. The first thought is how spoiled I must be to expect birthday treatment all month. Then how lucky I must be to actually get it!
But I am here to let you all in on a little secret...the reason why I get the birthday treatment I want all month is because it's really pretty easy to deliver. All I want for my birthday is a birthday wish. Just tell me happy birthday and I am happy. Tell me I look young and I am happier. Tell me I look young and thin and I am ecstatic! That's it. Pretty simple really. Now, I won't turn down a piece of cake, or a birthday drink or a card, but I don't need them.
Usually on the birthday weekend, what ever day we choose to celebrate the day, this year it will be Saturday because my birthday happens to fall on Saturday, the boys and I eat out someplace cool and go to a movie. Or two. Or one memorable year, three. I love going to the movies. I am not sure if we will do a movie this year. I need to see what is out there that I want to see, maybe "Crazy, Stupid Love" maybe I will be ornery and make C watch the new rom-com with Anne Hathaway that the couple meet every year on the same day and it follows them through a few decades....not because I especially want to see it but because it's my birthday so I can be ornery and get away with it.
And that for me is the beauty of birthday month, week, weekend, day. I get to use it as an excuse for being goofy. For deciding I want pie for dinner. For getting to see three movies in a day. I don't need anything else. Except a birthday wish. And the whole young and thin part is always good. Don't forget that.
So how did birthday month come to pass? It has been an evolution. I didn't have my first actual birthday party just for me until I was 19, and then it was really just an excuse for Brent's Navy buddies and my work buddies to get together and drink like we did most every weekend anyway. (Non-alcoholic beverages, of course, anything else would have been illegal!). Anyway...when I was very little we spent every August in Iowa so my birthday was marked during a Sunday dinner with the whole family while we were back there. Pretty much meant I got a cake to add to the meal. Which when you are three is pretty much all you need. When you are 9 or 10 it starts to bug you a little.
Still just happy to have a cake at 3.
Then after my grandfather died and we stopped going back to Iowa every August my birthday got lumped into the "August Celebration" group. When you have a big family you don't tend to celebrate each event separately, you group them. For August that meant my birthday, Aunt Lucille's birthday, Todd's birthday and John's birthday. There was a family dinner. Creamed tacos, homemade ice cream and German Chocolate Cake, cards were passed around wishes were given and that was that. Again, as an adult it's not so terrible. As a preteen it was the pits. All I wanted was a day that was mine. I shared a room with my sister, my clothes were hand me downs, even my birthday was a group event.
There were a few birthdays that stuck out. When I turned 13 my sister talked my parents in to letting me come visit her in Dallas where she was living at the time. This was the trip I learned about the "Magic Birthday" this was the birthday where you turned the same age as the date of your birthday. My sister's roommate and best friend Denise Kitch and I shared a name and a birthday. And this was her Magic Birthday year. She had gone home to Albuquerque to celebrate and had had a big party and now back in Dallas we had another party at she and Susan's apartment. Not one but two parties? Sign me up!
My sixteenth birthday was one for the books as well. I got to live my own John Hughes movie moment...not the one sitting on a table with Jake Ryan over a birthday cake...but the part where no one in your family remembers it's your sixteenth birthday. Remember the whole family celebration thing? Well it was the week before so as far as everyone was concerned my birthday was done. And to top things off it was the first day of school Junior year. Matt Barnes, who I shared a birthday with, and I decided that spending our 16th birthday in school just wasn't okay so we took off after lunch and spent the rest of the day goofing off.
Matt and I spent our 18th birthday together as well. Though that was a funnier story. I was working at Schlotzsky's at the time and Matt stopped by on our birthday to see me. When he found out that Brent and I didn't have anything big planned he made me promise to come to he and Matt Bishop's house for his party. So after work ends Brent and I head over to the Matts place and there is a BIG party in full effect. There is a cake and very nicely done it has Happy Birthday Matt! on it and then under it obviously added later was and Denise. It was super sweet. Now we are walking around the party talking to people and realizing that there are only a handful of people that we know, most of them are new friends of Barnes and Bishop. I happened to walk in to the kitchen and over hear this conversation..."I cannot believe that Matt would be so awful to add another man's name to his cake like that!" "I know...who even is this Dennis person? Doesn't he think it would hurt Matt's feelings?" (the trick when friends with a couple who share the same name is understanding which Matt is which, which is why my friends and I usually called them Barnes and Bishop but these two knew which Matt was which so were just using Matt) So anyway...I got to step in..."umm, Hi...it's not Dennis, it's actually Denise. Matt and I have been friends for a long time and we happen to share a birthday. He and Bishop thought it would be fun to have me over for our 18th birthday so here I am" After they realized I wasn't some horrible man stealer in there trying to break up the Matts they were very pleased to have me at the party.
My Magic Birthday we spent in Idaho Falls. Brent actually had the day off so that was a treat. He bought me 20 rose and we got dressed up and went out to dinner. I can't remember where, there weren't a lot of very fancy choices in Idaho Falls, but I do remember it was a lovely evening.
Twenty on the 20th!
For my 21st birthday we had to go to three different places to buy alcohol before I could get anyone to card me. And then I had to act really nervous at the register to prompt the cashier to ask!
Then C came along and I stopped celebrating at all. I sort of felt like birthdays were done for me now. Now it was time to celebrate his birthdays and I never had really gotten in the habit of what to do to celebrate anyway. So that is where the whole, "just tell me happy birthday" came from. But people don't really want to just do that for you if they are used to big celebrations. So birthday weekend started. Dinner out, a movie, something fun that you picked. And that was good. I have also had some fun surprises from friends and work colleagues.
My boss at Garcia Automotive, the great soulless one, and I shared a birthday and her husband was one to make a big deal out of it every year. When he found out that I don't celebrate he was shocked...but then he discovered that I loved the cherry cheese strudel from Zinn's bakery and so every year he would bring one in to the office for me. I think I appreciated that more than his wife appreciated what ever expensive piece of jewelry she got that year.
At L/N Jen's first day was the birthday celebration for me and our bookkeeper. We started with mimosas at 9 and never stopped drinking. One of my first conversations with Jen I was distracted my newly polished toenails and had to admit to her that I was more than a little drunk and would be spending the day that way. She laughed and I think it set our friendship off on a good note!
The year I wasn't eating milk products my friend (and at the time client) Scott and his office assistant threw me a non-dairy sundae party. They had gone out and bought almond ice cream and soy ice cream and non-dairy whipped cream and toppings and we ate so much I thought we were going to explode!
My 40th birthday Brent posted on his wall, on my wall, as his status, to all of my e-mail addresses and as a text message "Happy Birthday, you look much too young to be 40" As all of the notifications kept rolling in I had to laugh! This was exactly what I had told him I wanted for my 40th birthday, for people to tell me I looked much too young to be 40!
My birthday has evolved through the years for sure. I love birthday month and I have always hated to see it draw to a close, but now even more so. See, my birthday marks the end of August, and the end of August means C is headed back to school. Though it won't be as hard this year as it was last year, it will still be tough. Birthdays mark the passing years, the way things change, and nothing makes you notice the changes more than your kids growing up. I know eventually I will celebrate my birthday without him home at all. sigh.....
But for now, it's birthday week, in birthday month, close to birthday weekend and my actual birthday...so everyone all together...."Happy Birthday you look so young and thin!"