When I was a girl, my parents always threw us fun birthday parties. There weren’t fancy. We usually invited neighbor kids and relatives over to celebrate the birthday girl (I come from a family of three girls). Some years, we hung a piñata in the beams that supported the roof over our patio. All the kids took turns whacking the airborne candy dispenser until sweets spilled out onto the ground. We ran all crazy in our large back yard, wearing ourselves out. Then, we’d eat cake and ice-cream, open presents and run wild some more. I loved our parties and how my parents marked our birthdays as special.
Having celebrated over forty of these annual holidays, I’ve come to a conclusion about birthdays. There are at least three kinds of people in the world. The first are those who love to celebrate big. They’re not shy about broadcasting their birthday and reveling in all the good wishes. They love being the center of attention, having parties and celebrating.
The second are those who don’t want a big deal made about their (hands circling the mouth and whispering) birthday. They don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they own a new age. Or perhaps they don’t want attention drawn to themselves. Whatever the reason, they don’t mind if this day is treated like any other.
I fall into the third category. I don’t want all eyes on me for the day. Please, please don’t take me to Red Robin (don’t get me wrong—I love their food) and tell them it’s my birthday. The last thing I want is a restaurant full of strangers singing, “Happy Birthday” to moi. But, I like the day to be marked by those close to me. Somehow. It doesn’t have to be big. Giving me the night off from cooking supper by going out to eat instead. Or, flowers. Something that marks the day as special.
In discovering this about myself, I’ve realized I desire the affirmation that I matter to those who share my life most intimately. Call it a cry for significance. Am I selfish for wanting this? I hope not.
The other thing I have grappled with is the fact that my wonderful husband falls into the second category of birthday person. Birthdays were not a big deal when he was growing up. We “do” birthdays differently. I’m learning to be content with how he rolls with birthdays (low key), and he’s learning how to help me mark this day. That is truly a most wonderful gift—understanding our differences, knowing and catering to each other’s desires and loving it.
Birthday cake anyone?
What about you? Which type of birthday person are you? Is there another kind of birthday person? What were/are some of your birthday traditions?