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Sunday, March 29, 2009

A very happy un-birthday

I have a confession... I really dislike birthdays. I'm not at all against other people celebrating birthdays, I'm just not really a big fan of my own.

I'm also not a big fan of surprises. Thankfully, Joe realizes that the surest way to earn a night on the sofa would be to kindly and lovingly plan a surprise party for me. Being the center of attention isn't something I'm particularly comfortable with.

It hasn't always been like this. I remember two childhood birthdays that were fun. The first was in kindergarten. A bunch of classmates went to McDonald's and then back to my house for games and cake. We flew our McDonald's kites in the field next to our house - mine had that stupid Birdie the Early Bird (what kind of lame name is that?) - and then Max Johns climbed on my bedspread with dirty shoes.

Another winner of a party was fifth grade. My mother told me I could invite "some friends" after school on Friday for pizza and then three could spend the night. All was well until that morning when she had to write out the little permission slip allowing these girls to come home with me. I had invited around twenty girls. I think she was planning for more like six. We had fun but of course with that many of us we staged a big dramatic argument (like girls that age are apt to do) and it all ended in a bloodbath crying. But no crying by me, so awesome.

That's the last party I really remember. I guess they'd had enough after that. Mostly what I remember of birthdays involved really lame gifts, not that this is unique to birthdays. It also applies to Christmas, weddings and graduations as well but I'll save that for another post. On my 16th birthday, I passed out in gym class. I arrived home that night after choir practice to find my family had already eaten dinner and my gifts were left on the table - a packet of Garfield stickers and a sweatshirt with dancing bears. In college, they mailed me a card with a check for $30 for "birthday, deodorant, shoes and things".

And on my most recent birthday, my mother emailed me that "I am not sure what we are doing tonight but if I remember we will call you." Hope it wasn't too much effort! The rest of my family (brother, sister, and grandmother) didn't acknowledge it at all. Nor did any co-workers. Or a couple of friends I kinda thought might remember. And what do you say to that when you'd really rather forget it yourself? "Oh, hey, look at me, even though I hate attention and I hate my birthday, but dammit, why didn't you remember?" Also, it wasn't really a stellar day in general.

Mostly, birthdays make me feel lonely and sad. I'm very grateful that Joe goes out of his way to celebrate however I want to that particular year. Which is usually just the two of us because there's nobody I'd rather spend my birthday with than Joe.

And no, today is not my birthday. It's already come and gone this year. I was just shopping for my nephew's birthday (my sister has demanded helpfully suggested purchasing him toys for the family beach vacation) and I was inspired to post about the topic.

But when it IS my birthday, I'm not the kind that announces it and runs around with a tiara (like my coworker last week), proclaiming that you all must love me and kiss my booty for the day. No, that shouldn't just be one day a year. That should be all the time.

And now I'm off to polish my own tiara - it's covered in fingerprints from last time I swapped it out with my halo.

24 comments:

Deb said...

oh i am with you. i am fine with other people's birthdays, but i hate mine (and surprises). i will say that last year, hubs did surprise me, but not with a big party (he knows better), but with a little dinner at an inn in the country. i was SO mortified and panicked, but it ended up being awesome. i hope he doesn't think that means he has the go ahead to continue with the surprises! i should probably mention that before my next one.

Coffee Slut said...

I'm the same way ...I don't even want any mention of what the day is when it's my birthday. Bah!

Happy Sunday!

mo.stoneskin said...

Damn, now I have to go and cancel the big suprise birthday bash I had planned for you, I hope I can get a refund for the flights.

Seriously though, I can relate, I've always felt low and reflective on my birthday, and it is only now that I'm slowly enjoying them more.

Debbie said...

I'm not big on surprises either. Makes me uncomfortable.

Yaya said...

I am the same exact way about my birthday. I hate it because it reminds me of the times my mom was too busy working to acknowledge it. And like you said, if someone forgets it what do you do about it??

Lisa said...

no, i am too much of a control freak to like surprises but i do like birthdays and usually plan a couple of different celebrations- family, friends, witches, muggles etc......

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

Happy very unbirthday to you, to you! Birdie the Early Bird always got on my nerves - such a freak. Hopefully your unbirthday is more fun than your birthday.

For the record, I totally run around hollaring that it is my birthday and singing "happy birthday to me"... several times every month. You are so right that "it should be every day."

Melissa B. said...

I think I'm the opposite on birthdays. The more balloons the merrier! BTW, I'm celebrating One Year in the Blogosphere with a special 2-day Sx3 today and tomorrow. The winner gets a $50 Tar-Jay Gift Card. Please say you'll play!

Vodka Mom said...

I'm with you......

TMC said...

Totally. No surprises for me, either.

Donnetta said...

I am so the opposite! I LOVE my birthday (although now I'd rather it not come so qickly!) I never fail to remind everyone that it's coming up. :) What can I say - I'm an attention whore.

Megan said...

My husband doesn't like surprises either. His mom and I threw him a surprise party for his 16th birthday and he went to the neighbors for the next 3 hours, refusing to come home.

Me on the other hand, I don't normally parade around and announce it's my birthday but because I'm going to be the big 3-0 in a few months I've told anyone that will listen that I want a huge party. I'm not going to sit in my room and cry because I'm 30. If I have to turn 30, it's going to be celebrated dammit. :0P

SF said...

I had a party at Burger King once, but no one stepped on my bedspread.

Love what your mom had to say "if we remember", what kind, generous, loving woman.

At least you have Joe!

Call Me Cate said...

Deb - Joe does occasionally surprise me with dinner or a weekend (or an awesome gift) but he knows better than to surprise me with people.

Coffee Slut - At work, they send a card through inner-office mail for birthdays. I always make sure I pick up the mail that day so nobody else notices.

Mo - You're welcome to keep your flight. We'll just toast our pints to world peace or creme eggs.

Debbie - Surprises and crowds make me anxious so a surprise birthday party? Complete failure.

Yaya - Exactly. Reminders of past failed birthdays reminders of people who aren't here to share it with me. I end up feeling frustrated and cranky the whole day.

Lisa - If I could help plan the party, I'd feel better about it. Especially if I can invite muggles!

RAS - Birdie just had a really stupid name. Someone was totally phoning it in that day. When I was little, I was all about my "birthday month". But not every month...

Melissa - congrats on the Blogosphere Bday! I'll stop by!

Vodka Mom - We'll have our own party. It won't be a surprise. And no balloons.

TMC - You can also come to the non-surprise party.

Donnetta - I'm glad you enjoy your birthday so much! I'm envious.

Megan - Wow, I'd never leave my surprise party (but maybe I'd hide in the bathroom for awhile). Have a blast for your big 3-0! Joe wasn't happy about that one but the numbers don't bother me (yet).

SF - Well, you know my mom. Thanks for being one of the awesome ones that remembered this year. Complete with BabyZ drool on the card!

blognut said...

Birthdays... blech! I don't do 'em either.

Isabella said...

I don't mind my birthday - I get to eat cake. That's all that really matters.

Last year, I made my own cake. When I asked if I could write whatever I wanted on it, they (ShankRabbit, brother-in-law and his wife) said yes...so I wrote something mildly inappropriate, just because I could.

KiKi said...

I'm with ya sister...my own birthdays suck a&@. Been there with the tween crying fests...ack. And, I also always feel lonely and sad. Although, I do prance around wearing my tiara and announcing my birthday to the world. I'm kind of an attention monger. And a glutton for misery!

kimber p said...

I'll take all your unwanted birthdays and love them as much as I do my own..ok? :)

Beth said...

Like you, I'd rather celebrate other folks birthdays. My husband and I always go away for a weekend when it is our birthdays (we both celebrate the same month). No party. Nothing but being alone together.

The Rambler said...

I've always been meaning to check you out...cause a couple of my bloggy pals say you ROCK.

:)

Thanks so much for visiting on my SITS day :)

The Blonde Duck said...

Happy Birthday!

Unfortunately, I do run around in a tiara. But that's essentially a daily occurance anyway.

Call Me Cate said...

blognut - We just celebrate every day. Don't really need a reason!

Isabella - Cake is good. But I can eat cake on your birthday just as well as my own. Though on mine I get to choose the flavor. Hmm, maybe I need to rethink this. And I <3 the idea of writing something inappropriate or off-the-wall on it. I've wasted the opportunity this year!

KiKi - That's how I feel when someone doesn't remember. "Look at me, look at me! Except I hate it when you look at me! Now I'm gonna cry!"

Kimber - Yes, you may have mine. Handle them with care.

Beth - That's cool that your birthdays are close. I'd much rather a joint celebration.

Rambler - Thanks for stopping by!

Blonde Duck - I really want a tiara. Just because.

Andi said...

I am not into my birthday either. Or Christmas or Valentine's. Luckily neither is my husband. We just celebrate what we want to celebrate when we want to celebrate!

Lora said...

I love all birthdays because i'm a self centered egomaniac who loves a day devoted entirely to her.

but i hate surprises.