My younger sister will cite the same complaint, and realize that it's nothing personal. It's just that, it's your birthday, you know? And you have to share a cake? And the birthday table?
We were a family of six children, and my sister and I had a birthday just three days apart. I'm sure we should have been grateful that we got chocolate cake with cherry icing. And I'm over it now BUT now that I'm in control, I like to stretch that birthday out as long as I can. And have it all to myself.
I would have been a lot less grimacey and grumpy back when I was little had I known that one day I would be lucky enough to live in a houseful of men where I reigned as the only queen.
Hence, my birthday weekend. I begin announcing the upcoming event a week beforehand. I'm not one to bury my head in the pillows, falling into extended crying jabs, because someone forgot the big day to celebrate me.
I don't take that chance.
This morning was the official birthday start, and the queen's trumpets will sound until its end late Sunday night, about 10:30ish. I ask the kids to write up a home-made card, rather than a store bought one, telling me why I'm the best mom in the world and I give my husband a shopping list for the small things I want. I'm a believer in asking for what you want - no disappointment that way. And why risk unnecessary suffering?
I see my beautiful childrens' cards on the table as I type this, along with pretty packages wrapped in light pink and pear green (the colors I've told them I like).
I don't have to cook, my husband runs out and picks up whatever take-out I ask for. The kids do the chores I ask them to. Everyone is happy. And everyone understands.
They know the story.
I remember first telling my children about the shared birthday, watching their eyes open in horror - a horror to them more terrifying than watching a Twilight Zone episode by yourself at 10 PM when you're five-years-old. (note to self: post on how I know it's terrifying to watch Twilight Zone by myself at 10 PM)
While I'm grateful to the sky and back for my family and how much they do for me, I'm also grateful for all of you. Your tweets and facebook posts and emails to me today, wishing me a Happy Birthday, go beyond making it better for all those years of sharing a cake and never really having a day that was mine.
Just the act of wishing someone Happy Birthday is such a kind, loving one.
Thank you all so much. I don't regret the years of the semi-birthday where it was more of a "Hap Bir!" to me rather than a whole complete "Happy Birthday!" to only me. My family did the best they could, and they were just being grown-up practical.
I get that, and in a way it turned out to be the reason why I love the birthday wishes just for me today.
And why my younger sister and I call each other on our birthdays, and ask, "How about that cake THAT BELONGS TO ONLY YOU??"
P.S. In a statistically improbable life turn of events, our two boys have birthdays three days apart (can you believe it?).
When the second one was born, my MIL said, "Oh! How nice! Now you can share birthdays!"
I ugly screamed, "NO!"
She asked me, "Don't you think you're overreacting??"
No, I thought, No, I'm not.