Friday, September 21, 2012

Ways To Milk a Birthday



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As a kid, I had to share my birthday.

I know.

I.Know.

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.

57 comments:

  1. I have a friend who celebrates her birthday for one solid week. Because Greta Garbo's birthday is 3 days from hers and she worships GG. So she celebrates for one week and we all rally around those days.

    So happy birthday kiddo! Take all the time you need...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Suzy. I will. Think I'll ask for eggs benedict this morning.

      Delete
  2. Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday to you and only you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that is so cute and sweet.

      Thank you.

      Delete
  3. Happy Birthday, darling! And even though I'm an only child and never had that sharing problem, I instinctively figured shared birthday cakes suck - so have always made TWO for my twins, one for each. Glad to know my gut feelings were right.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, dear Varda. I used to weave elaborate daydreams of being an only child.

      Delete
  4. Happy Birthday sweet friend! xo

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  5. Happpppppppppppppppppppy Birthday, Alex!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want that ... on my own cake.

      Thank you, Delf.

      Delete
  6. I remember this kind of thing just being the norm. My grandmother and dad's birthdays were just 4 and 3 days before mine. Some years we celebrated all of them on one day; some years we didn't. I don't remember ever feeling badly about the all-in-one years. My guess is it's because they gave the celebration to me since I was the kid and so damn adorable.

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  7. whew ok thanks for the perspective....considering my boys are 5 days apart....we are doing seperate for the first time this year....next weekend....and the next weekend....ha...

    happy birthday!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NO!!

      I have two boys with birthdays exactly 3 days apart, too. Can you believe it?

      I FIGHT to keep those boys days separate.

      Delete
  8. I ugly screamed, "NO!"

    This seriously made me chuckle. Hope you have the happiest of Birthday Weekends and everyone in the kingdom rightfully celebrates your singular magnificence. Because you really are. Magnificent, that is. :)

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  9. I hope you have a wonderful & very Happy Birthday! It sounds like you will be treated like the Empress you are :)

    I am also a September baby as is my brother - we are 2 years and 2 days apart so all of our birthdays were shared. And I hated it. So now I like to milk my birthday for as long as I can too :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See?? I rest my case.

      I began hating it around 7 years old.

      Made me grumpy the whole shared day.

      Delete
  10. I love you, non-sharing birthday girl. I fully expect you to eat that entire cake.

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  11. I support your birthday extravaganza smorgasbord and proclaim that everyone in all the land should have a Happy Your Birthday!! No one should have to share a birthday. No one.

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  12. dude. happy birthday. also. you're the only person i wished a happy birthday to today. well. okay. fine. you're the only one i called dude and *then* wished a happy birthday to.

    hope it was awesome!

    and you know what you'll get for watching the twilight zone alone at five years of age? you'll get boys who have birthdays three days apart just like you and your sis. boom.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Happy Birthday! LOVE the idea of a birth weekend or week or month! Let the celebrating continue! You are worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. ...da da da da da da...you say it's YOUR Birthday!...da da da da da da....Happy Birthday to YOU! The trumpets shall indeed sound, as it is only fitting that The Empress should enjoy her own birthday weekend! And there is much rejoicing - YAY! Enjoy!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OF COURSE, a comment from you like this.

      You are one in a million.

      CONGRATS ON THE SASSYMEDIA WIN!!!!!!!!!

      WOW. SOmeone I REALLY know REALLy won a REALLY great prize!!

      See you at Non Con!

      Delete
  15. Birthday weekends are the best. Hope you have a happy one. Party like a rock star!

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    Replies
    1. Oh my beautiful woman. I am so late in getting caught up with you.

      ThANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY.

      Will be coming over later.

      Thank you for the sweet thoughts.

      xo

      Delete
  16. A friend of mine had a sister born exactly 2 years after him. SAME DANG DAY. Oh, man. I can imagine how badly that sucks the joy to share a special day. Glad you are making up for it.

    And by the way....Happy Birthday!

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  17. i love the idea of an extended birthday, i am doing my part right now - happy birthday!

    Two of my kids are a month apart and they each have their own party with their friends, and a joint one with family which seems to delight them, or maybe i am totally wrong about that and it really just delights me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So smart, little grasshoppa.

      Turn that question around and you shall have your answer.'


      xo

      Delete
  18. I know how much you treasure you birthday.
    I wish that I lived near you to throw a big bash for you :)
    I shared a birthday with my grandma.
    It was something special we shared. I remember her being so excited to celebrate our birthdays the year I turned 16. In the hospital she would ask "How many more days??"
    She didn't make it for our birthday.
    But it's all good. I know that she's there in spirit probably drinking it up for the both of us...or maybe that's the other way around ;)

    Happy birthday my sweet friend and many many many more xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're a wonderful person, my Kim.

      Just wonderful.

      I love the internet and am so grateful for the GOOD way it changed my life.

      Can't imagine not having it.

      I know you feel the same way.

      Delete
  19. Happy birthday!

    I, too, warn the daily of impending birthday, ask for homemade cards. I buy myself a lovely gift and write my husband a thank you note for it, then tell him to wrap it for the big day. I ask him to devise and supervise the boys making some gratuitously glittery gift.

    My boys are two weeks apart. They each get a party of their peers and cake. Then we have a big joint extended family party so they can share another cake. I buy myself another gift for that party and sign my husband's name to the Cest. Everyone compliments him on his thoughtfulness.

    Happy birthday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See?

      Why do we love each other so much?

      We get each other.

      xo

      Delete
  20. I hope you had an awesome Birthday weekend!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Happy Birthday to you! Mine was also this weekend (yesterday). I have three brothers, two of them and I have birthdays that are only a couple of weeks apart. My mom found an even easier way than combining celebrations. We didn't celebrate any of them!

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  22. Hope it was a fantastic Birthday weekend :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, it was a great birthday.

      Thank you.

      Delete
  23. Happy Birthday! I hope you had as much take-out and non-cooking as humanly possible.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Middlest and Youngest.... four days apart. I am happy to report they have never shared a birthday celebration of any sort. Happy Belated Alex. Hope you enjoyed all your 'surprise' gifts : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YOU!!

      Dana, I miss your loveliness and am so happy to see you here.

      Are you back to giving us your beautiful photos and even more beautiful prose?

      SAY YES.

      Delete
  25. Oh I missed your birthday! And your birthday and mine are just two days apart so it's probably best that we aren't related :). Hope you had an amazing birthday!

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    Replies
    1. Are we that close? I'm the 21st.

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

      Delete
  26. Happy belated birthday! I've never had to share my birthday (although mine is in the same month as my two sisters: October 3, 20th, and 23rd (and we're all three years apart)). My sister gives my niece only one gift for birthday and Christmas (her birthday is the week of Christmas). While I know it gets expensive, it has always bothered me that she had to have these days rolled into one.

    Over the past few years I've fallen out of favor with celebrating my birthday. Not sure why. Maybe because I never get what I ask for, can never afford to get what I truly want, and wind up cooking and doing all the crap myself that I don't want to do anyway. Oh, look, my irritation is unzipped. Let's fix that before any more seeps out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my love: WHY SIT AND WAIT FOR THINGS TO GET UGLY.

      I lay it all out the week before: what to get me, where to get it, when to give it.


      TAKE NO CHANCES.

      xo

      Delete
  27. AWWWWWWWWW.... it can't be said enough. Happy HAPPY birthday to the bestest Empress who ever reigned. I'm so very glad you didn't put your children through the same fate. My dad, brother, and I all have birthdays within 10 days of one another, but we had separate cakes growing up. Now when we celebrate, it's usually one cake for us all.

    I hope you and your sister did a lot of partying and enjoyed your individual cakes! XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  28. Happy belated birthday! So which is better...queen or empress? Either way, I am glad your loyal subjects followed their directions!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh, how did I miss this post?!? I did catch your birthday on FB but I'm sorry I missed this. I hope you had a lovely birthday weekend! I'm with you - I totally announce my big day weeks in advance so people can be prepared! And there really is something very magical about Facebook in that it reminds people it's your b-day and then you wake up to all these messages! Before this I remember how I would be lucky if I received a couple of b-day emails (even my brother didn't bother once, saying he had "too much" on his mind.

    You so deserve all the joy and attention, Alexandra! Keep celebrating!! (I like extending my birthday for 2 weeks.)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm sorry I'm late to wish you your own happy birthday, but I was off the internet all weekend.
    I understand birthday pain, although mine was of a different variety - I shared a birthday with Jesus. Mine always got glossed over because in our family, Jesus was king of the universe and I was just the troublesome little girl always provoking her sister.
    So congratulations on FINALLY having your own birthday. I solved my birthday dilemma by making it "do whatever I want day, and not care about anyone else." It works for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When it comes to birthdays, it's every man for himself.
      I finally learned that.

      Delete
  31. As Empress you decree your own high holiday on your birthday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're such a good friend, Erin. Thank you.

      xo

      Delete
  32. I'm so happy to get all the FB messages for only me on my birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm sorry I did not wish you Happy Birthday before. I hope you truly felt like an Empress! And I am so glad that you don't make your kids share the cake. My husband also had to share his birthday with his older brother, so he gets it.

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  34. All those repressed memories of mine. I share a birthday with my brother, and we are not twins, I was born on his 3rd birthday. I did not like sharing as a child but now, it is the tie that helps us stay connected as adults

    ReplyDelete
  35. My Dad was born on Dec 21 and not only did he have to share birthday with Christmas, he also had to share it with his 2 other brothers who were born in the Fall too. They just added candles for each kid and took a picture.

    And Happy Belated Birthday my dear and wonderful friend.

    ReplyDelete

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