From the time we are born birthdays are a big deal. The day we arrive into our families every known relative is contacted pictures are shared and everyone celebrates you. You are way too tiny to even understand that you are a big deal, but it's true, you totally are. It's all about you!
In elementary school your birthday and the party are a huge deal. In fact they're such a big deal that an invitation to a birthday party is a commodity that gives 7 year olds leverage year round! "Oh yeah, well then I'm not inviting you to my birthday party..." Guaranteed that would be one of the answers on Family Feud for statements heard on the playground.
The teenage years are noted more for those milestone birthday's like the one when you officially become a teenager and miraculously know everything. Then when you turn 16 and can date and drive yourself anywhere you want to go with out waiting for it to be convenient for someone else to take you, and you inadvertently become taxi driver number two in your household. Then that 18th birthday when adulthood and that elusive freedom are finally yours.
Sometime shortly after that though we are supposed to be too mature to act like we really care at all. We might make a big deal of turning thirty and feeling like we are finally adults for reals, or our 40th birthday the one that everyone warns you your body starts to hate you after. Then comes the 50th where you can't deny it any longer you really are a grown up but you're also finally comfortable in your own skin and hopefully are proud of the adult you've become.
But still every year, no matter the age, we have come to expect that day to be all about you, whether you admit it to anyone else, including yourself, or not. Just one day a year where you should be able to do what you want to do, eat what and where you want, and treat yourself to a few extra perks.
I totally thought that I didn't really care about all of that stuff until this year. I spent a lot of my birthday alone and nothing really seemed to work out in my favor. Good friends and family in town were a few less than they have been in recent years, and their absences were especially felt that day.
I ended up taking Brynne to get a pedicure and took Wes and Brynne out to dinner with me because the rest of the family had other commitments. The day wasn't entirely business as usual though. Wes and Carter posted sweet messages on Instagram, and Carter sent the cutest flower bouquet that looked just like a cupcake! Brynne and Drew made a sweet happy birthday banner and taped it to my bedroom door. Brynne also called one of my friends while I was at the gym and asked her to take me to lunch so my "birthday wouldn't be TOTALLY boring!" but my friend was up to her eyeballs in throwing a birthday party for one of her kids. Seriously though, how cute was Brynne for even trying, and totally on her own?! I was so grateful for the effort all of my kids had made to make me feel loved.
And they weren't the only ones. By the end of night Facebook informed me I'd had 106 friends wish me a happy birthday, I'd had a handful of texts and phone calls and a couple of friends had come by to drop off treats or a gift that night. Jeff had come home with cake and ice cream and a gift. I even had a friend come by in her jammies to help me tackle that amazing chocolate cake when everyone else had scattered off in their own directions.
So the night wrapped up much better than the day had gone and since then I've had a couple of "birthday lunches" with friends. I've felt loved by so many, but I'm determined to plan better next year. I don't want to spend another birthday mostly alone. Because even if that day is supposed to be all about me, I've come to learn that I'm all about the people I care about and I'm happiest when I'm with them. One year older and wiser too...