“You’re weird about birthdays.”
I can’t argue the point. He’s right. I am. And I’m not sure if I’m weirder than all other people as it pertains to “birthday celebrations” or if I’m just the extrovert sheep in my little introvert family.
When I was growing up, my parents made each of our birthdays a big deal. We got to pick the menu and my mom made us her infamous devils food chocolate cake (as a little kid, it always creeped me out a little when she called it devils food. The devil was bad but the cake was so good! That probably messed me up on some level. Thanks a lot, Betty Crocker).
Before we could eat that fabulous cake, we had to wait patiently while the rest of the family sang 20 verses of “Happy Birthday” and then we blew out the candles and counted our boyfriends/girlfriends (any remaining lit candle) while being teased by our siblings. When you are 5, you don’t want any boyfriends but oh how things changed ten years later when you might accidentally on purpose leave one candle lit.
Then after the Grandmas and Grandpas got there and everyone ate cake and ice cream, you got to open your presents. You were the complete center of attention for about 3 hours. Freaking awesome.
And when my kids were little, they loved the chaos of birthdays and singing and cake and presents and a house full of their cousins.
I didn’t think this would change when they became adults. It didn’t change for me. I still love being the center of attention and the awful out of tune singing of voices who love me and hamming it up for the birthday camera. But they did. Genetically speaking, they grew up much more like their quiet, introverted father, who really hates to be embarrassed (still a mystery as to why he married me – I’m a walking advertisement for life’s most embarrassing moments) and does everything in his power to stay under the radar.
So now, birthdays are boring in my house. Sad, even.
I don’t get to take pictures (“Mom, gross. Don’t take my picture! You’re not going to put that on Facebook are you? Ugh!”).
I only get to sing one verse of Happy Birthday. One verse. One. No “How oooold are you”. No “May you live till you die!” No “May the dear Lord bless you”. Not even a “You live in a zoo…”
They complain very loudly if I put 20+ candles on their crappy frozen Pepperidge Farm cake and by the time the last candle is lit, the first candle is a melted sputtering puddle of wax.
They don’t want to pick off the candles and then lick the frosting off of them.
Sometimes, they don’t even want a piece of their own cake, claiming to be “full”. “Full”? What the hell is “full”? This is a BIRTHDAY. YOU EAT BIRTHDAY CAKE. YOU ARE NOT “FULL”.
They don’t care if their gifts are wrapped.
Or if they already know what they are getting.
They don’t want additional family there to help me sing and add extra verses while Aunt Terri cries and snaps a multitude of pictures (“Wait – relight the candles! Rachael had her eyes shut!” and “Waaah! I love my family! Life is short! Group hug! Wahhhhhhh!”).
They just want their favorite meal, eaten quietly and without fanfare, followed (maybe) by a piece of cake. They tolerate my one verse but really, if I didn’t sing, that would be okay too. Really okay. Really, really, really okay. *sigh*
Meanwhile, I’ll just be over here. By myself. The birthday weirdo.
Until next week,
PPS: I apologize for the lack of photos. I have a ton of old birthday photos but they are all BD (Before Digital) and would require me to dig thru some boxes and then try to remember how to use my scanner again.