Note: reading through some of this makes me wonder if it might sound a little too depressing and sad. Please know, I really am over most of it, it is just the facts and some of these stories are actually kind of funny NOW. Not so much back then.
Usually I don't like to make a big deal about my birthday, but today I'm going to really enjoy it.
I've decided that I've had a chip on my shoulder about my December 22nd birthday practically all my life. It's time to just own it and celebrate unabashedly.
Besides, I've had some pretty lousy birthdays. Compared to a lot of them, about anything would be a good day.
First of all, being that close to Christmas, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. Let's face it, even I don't really feel like eating cake just for the sake of eating cake when there are so many other treats lying around. (And besides, who do you think would have to make the cake?)
Also as a kid, pretty much without fail, my mom would always look startled on my birthday. Then she would (not so) subtly sneak over to the Christmas tree, rifle around, grab a present and yank the tag off of it. Then she would come over and hand it to me. Voila', instant birthday present. We really didn't have a lot of money so I'm sure it was a burden on my parents to try and come up with more presents at that time of year.
One year my dad made me do chores on the farm with him on my birthday. He had me go with him right after school, help do whatever it was we were doing for a few hours at his farm and then, after dark and in the middle of a snow storm, his car broke down on the way home. I still remember exactly where it was. Ironically, I now live within a couple miles of the spot and remember it somewhat fondly now. Back then I was not thrilled to be cold, dirty, tired and pushing whatever version of little junky car my dad was driving that year up a hill in a blizzard.
When we got home, my mom said, "Did you know it is Holly's birthday today?" to which my dad replied, "Oh, happy birthday."
Another year I asked my mom to fix lasagna, as it was a favorite food that I rarely got to eat as a kid. She must have been in a bad mood because she said something to the effect of, "What makes you think you can tell me what to fix for dinner?" (She didn't usually talk like that.) I answered sheepishly, "It's my birthday." I can't remember if I got the lasagna or not.
What I do remember is that I've only had one birthday party my whole life. I was in fifth grade. We gathered around with lots of girls my age in our little living room. I'm sure there were no decorations or games, but there was probably cake and ice cream. My mom had said she would drive the girls home and she had a hard time getting one girl home and got the car stuck in a muddy, snowy field. My mom was not happy when she got home and kept saying, "Never again." And in reality, I never really did have another birthday party.
The year I turned 30 I felt like celebrating, so we invited a lot of the neighbors over to go Christmas caroling to some of the other neighbors homes and then we had treats and hot chocolate back at our house. That really was a fun night, though we didn't tell anyone that it was for my birthday. I just wanted to have fun and not make it about me. That was probably one of my best birthdays.
Later on, as the kids started school, I learned about the concept of a half-birthday. Since my kids are August birthdays, the teachers have them celebrate their birthdays six months later, on their half-birthday.
This seemed like a great idea to me, except for the fact that my half birthday falls on June 22nd, which is always during Nibley Heritage days and the Nibley City play, which my kids usually take part in and I'm always busy with costumes, practices, etc. It is also Landon's (our son who died from a heart defect) birthday so I generally don't feel like celebrating that day anyway.
Two years ago, our little family did celebrate my birthday a week later than my half-birthday and we had a ball. For the life of me I can't remember exactly what we did but I do remember we all had a good time and had planned on doing it again every year.
Last year I tried to talk them into doing the same thing but I think I asked too much of them. I've always thought it would be fun for our family to have one of those old-fashioned photos taken, complete with costumes. Somehow everyone always seemed "busy" when it was time to plan it. Maybe next year.
Sometimes, if there is a good movie showing, I can talk Hal into taking us all to the movies for my birthday. We've done that a couple of years, though Ally threw up on my (40th) birthday (A helpful hint here, NEVER leave the toilet lid down at night. If someone throws up and the lid is closed it hits the lid and goes ALL OVER the bathroom. Not fun to clean up on your birthday.) so she didn't get to go that year.
We also went out to breakfast on my real birthday one year with the kids, which was really fun. Usually though, the kids are still in school and don't get out until the next day. I like to think of it as the school district's way of wishing me a happy birthday. I think it's the best gift of all.
Anyway, I haven't mentioned my worst birthday ever yet - last year. This is getting too long so I will write it and post it later tonight, so you'll have to stay tuned. It's quite the story, even for me.
Hope you all have a great day, in honor of my birthday!
Note: I did just remember one really great birthday memory. About five years ago I woke up around 2:30 a.m. the night before my birthday and smelled something really good. I thought I was dreaming. The next morning I found out that Hal had stayed up and baked me an apple pie in the middle of the night. Nice, huh?
Added addendum: Today for my birthday surprise I found out that my son's teacher thinks he has ADHD (for real). That will teach me to ask what I thought was a rhetorical question on my birthday. She sent home a two page note to list her observations. And, from being in the classroom myself, I can see where she's coming from. I have a few theories of my own that I want to test out first. I'm sure I'll have more to comment on this later - after I get over the shock.