the thing about birthdays


The thing about birthdays is that they happen. If we’re lucky, we continue to mark the day of our birth over and over and over again. I relished the stages of celebrating my birthday…..well, until lately. 

The excitement of childhood birthdays that were palatable days if not weeks before the event and as a parent, the careful and extravagant planning in the celebration.  I remember a few crazily decorated cakes I made for my son over the years that were met with shrieks of delight. Cakes nowadays are works of art swathed in marzipan shapes and colours of almost creepy reality.  Truly an art, but in no way resembling the birthday cakes of my birthdays.

The thing about birthdays is that they happen.  And passing the milestones; I have some memorable celebrations.  One of my best birthdays was when my husband and I were staying at a campground and he had driven into town for work as I lazed around the campsite for the day.  He was supposed to bring takeout dinner back to the campsite after work and when he arrived he told me he had forgotten.  I was miffed and started dragging out the bread and cheese to make grilled cheese sandwiches….grumbling the entire time.

Then I heard a commotion outside and as I stepped out of the RV I saw a parade coming through the campground. It was my crazy neighbour Dot, and friends with a surprise visit, dinner, cake and much wine to celebrate. I felt truly loved that day in the weirdest way to know that grown people would dress up and with much noise and collusion with my husband celebrate with me.

The thing about birthdays is that they happen. And birthdays are sometimes less loud celebrations over the years but are celebrations nonetheless. Refusing  to be and fortunate not to become a cancer statistic with a birthday of reflection.  Missing the phone call from my Dad never lessens even though he has been gone for years.  Looking forward to the phone calls or weird email greetings from my brother who is able to ferret out the obscure corners of our childhood and make me laugh.

In the years between soft baby shoes and high heels there are a lot of markers of time. Celebrating is not the same as “I’m 9 years old!” and crazy with excitement. Or “I’m 29 years old and whining about turning 30” which I’ve always thought was a drama moment for those so inclined. Not so much me. Or the much-lauded birthdays of those who reach stunning ages of longevity. We revere the accomplishment of great age perhaps in an envious and hopeful way.

The thing about birthdays is that there is an in-between of birthdays with celebration for youth marking years growing up and celebration for the aged marking years of accomplishment.  I’m in the in-between years where the birthday greeting is more sympathy than congratulatory. It’s weird to be in this no man’s (or woman’s) land of being watched to see what the next step in my life will be as they do the math. Stop tiptoeing around like I should be ashamed of the age I am right now as if you are.

In between the soft baby shoes and high heels are years of adventures; sometimes stumbles and sometimes dancing and more to come.  Let’s just be happy with that. I am.

Happy birthday to me. 🙂





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