Truly! Celebrating Birthdays is an art. I’d like to think it’s an acquired skill. If I was to think otherwise, I’d be depressed in life because I would have to come to terms with the fact that I most certainly don’t have that skill. 😦
My birthday is the single most exciting day of my life. Whenever I have kids, I probably won’t be as excited for their birthdays as I’ll still be for my own. My parents used to make such a big deal out of my birthday. There wasn’t always a big party or a huge cake, but there was always Chocolate cake, my favorite breakfast- pancakes, my favorite dinner- mac and cheese with grilled chicken & mashed potatoes on the side and presents. Lots and lots of presents. Those were some of my best birthdays. I don’t want to sound completely hopeless, as if all my birthdays were disastrous. I have had some pretty fantastic birthdays in my childhood and some in my adult life as well you know. But they were all unplanned (atleast I hadn’t planned it).
My mother would go to all the trouble for my yummy dinner, my dad would smother me with kisses and tell everybody how he always gets confused about whether my birthday is August 16th or August 17th, and I used to get offended every year. The truth is, he was just kidding. There’s no way in hell he could get confused over my birthday and I knew it, he knew it, the whole world knew it, but it never stopped him from joking about it. 🙂
This tremendous amount of expectation I have from my birthdays mostly comes from my childhood, when my dad used to take special pride in reminding me of how special my birthday is. I mean he never even referred to my birthday as “Birthday”. He talked of it, like it was a National holiday- you know like the 4th of July? My dad would call my birthday “the 17th of August”. 😀
He would start reminding me of it a months in advance, to the extent of asking mundane questions like “Honey, when is the 17th of August?” I mean come on dad! But I’m smiling right now as I write this, it was so obvious and was a “Duh!” moment most of the time, but I still smiled, I still got excited. My dad passed away a month before my 21st birthday but even today, I can hear him say “Darling, 17th August is almost here” 🙂
Ever since I was 13 I’d plan and plan for my birthday, sometimes, months in advance, sometimes even an year in advance, and then at the end of the “Big Day” I always feel like it was a let down. I wonder how it can possibly be the most planned day but end up being the single most disappointing day ever, even more than New Year’s Eve. Perhaps in the case of my birthdays, anticipation is inversely proportional to success of the birthday. Back in the day when my parents used to plan my birthday parties, I remember everything would be exactly the way you wanted it to be, the guests would be as per your choosing, the food would be as per your liking, the decorations would be as per your approval, even then, there would be something that embarrassed me and taint the memory of the party for.
How do some people manage to get it so right? They don’t plan, they don’t even care, but it all magically works out. They get the best presents, the funniest wishes and it’s a completely fantastic day in total! I think, I have literally, written enough to make myself sad. I manage to plan all these fantastic things for my husband’s birthday, family members’ birthdays, friends’s birthdays, and execute them perfectly but my own…? 😦
My birthday is coming up in exactly a week, and this year, I decided NOT to plan. No party, no cake, no friends or presents…nada nada nada!!!!
I am going to go with the flow. I will keep no expectations from the day and the day will not disappoint me. Even though, I know in the deepest corner of my heart, that birthdays haven’t been the same since my dad died. So, whatever happens, I will always be disappointed that my dad’s not there to share my big special day with me like he used to.
This year, my dad decided to make me feel special from beyond the grave. I haven’t had the courage to go through his belongings since he died, but I did this year- 6 years after he died. I found a note from my dad. It was scribbled in a notepad hidden in his belongings. It was addressed to me and it was so wonderful and symbolic. I had it framed and hung it on my bedroom wall. It’s my dad’s birthday gift to me, makes up for the 6 birthdays he has missed.
Thanks Dad, and a Happy Birthday to Me! 😀