On Birthdays and Aging
October gets me thinking about birthdays. The world seems to have mixed views about birthdays.
Either you fall into the Booya It’s My Birthday camp or the I’d Rather Hide Under My Duvet Until it’s Over camp.
I admit that I fall firmly into the Birthday Celebration camp. I love my birthday. I love thinking about cake (though I do that all the time anyway), I love knowing that no matter what else happens on that day, it’s super-special by virtue of the fact that It’s The Day That I Was Born. I love the fuss and the texts and the phone calls and the cards.
Minnie-Sue is that same.
We can track this inherited Birthday Love back on the maternal side of the family.
My mom loves her birthday. And her mom did before her. The Aunts are the same.
My mom sets the bar high for birthdays and I have unashamedly followed her lead in my own family, though Minnie-Sue’s 6-month advance birthday planning has reached a level of excess even by my standards!
As children, birthdays were not the time that my brothers and I received really extravagant gifts. But the special birthday traditions made our days exceptional. We chose our birthday cakes from the Wilton Yearbook (sadly now defunct) and because my mom is a cake genius, no cake idea was too complicated or out of the question.
An Aside: When we children flew the coop and the parental units cleared the attic before moving to their new house, we found 3 x 30 gallon garbage cans filled with previously loved cake pans.
My parents always hosted a dinner for the extended family at which the birthday girl or boy was spoiled by all the relatives and we ate from the red You Are Special Today plate (though we often questioned whether it meant we weren’t special when not supping from that plate). And generally we had a ‘Kid Party’ too.
Birthday Traditions are a big deal in the UK Yankee household too. Our birthday traditions include breakfast-in-bed which increasingly involves Mr UK Yankee’s homemade croissants. Birthday cakes hold the same power over the masses and the birthday girl or boys wishes must be obeyed. Which is why Mr UK Yankee finally came to terms with the American white cake recipe. And why every year Mr UK Yankee receives a mince pie for his ‘cake’. That’s his tradition 😉
To Birthday or Not To Birthday
Some of the people in the Birthday Avoidance camp view birthdays as a marker of another year lost; another year older; another year of not accomplishing what they set out to do. But because I am a glass-half-full kind of gal, I view my birthday as a marker of another year well lived. Of things learned and changes made. I may be one of the only people I know who didn’t feel overly fussed about turning 40. For me, it was an opportunity to catch up with my whole family and college roomies in the Arizona sunshine. And of course- eat cake.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love the advent of increasingly grey roots and the need to use night cream. But the tiny lines around my eyes are from laughing and the tiny crease in my left cheek marks my dimple, triggered by my smile over the years. Whilst my hairdresser helps maintain my colour, I will not be seeking future services from a plastic surgeon. To my eyes, a person’s life can be read in the lines in their face and there is no more beautiful story than that.
So on this day, 10/10, always a special day in our house, I wish a very happy birthday to the woman who taught me to love my birthday and to celebrate the passage of years with joy and gratitude.
Happy Birthday Mom. Love you!
Join me in the Comments section below and wish my wonderful mom a very happy day with all her favourite things!