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And You Smell Like One, Too!

June 1, 2011

As I write, it’s my birthday (I was 34 on May 22). I love birthdays. If you tell me yours, I’ll put it on my calendar and probably send you a random email or text on your big day.

The Man is quite the opposite. Important birthdays are on his calendar and his bookkeeper reminds him as they are approaching. The first year we were married, I was working at Fat Man’s. Everyone there knew it was my birthday and passed along their best wishes, treating me to lunch at The Pit. I didn’t hear from The Man all day. When I got home from work, it was obvious that he didn’t have a clue. And I reminded him. Interestingly enough, his mom showed up about an hour later with a chocolate cake and a locally famous green jewelry box. She saved the day.

I love honoring a person on their birthday because it’s one of the few days of the year that is just yours. Well, I take that back. One of my dearest friends (Hey Liz! Happy birthday!) was born about half an hour before me. She loves to brag about this, but she’ll turn 50 first.

If I love birthdays so much, why don’t I make a bigger deal of mine?

I hate surprise parties. Well, I hate them for me. I love planning them for others and do it often. As a matter of fact, we’ve successfully surprised one friend three different times. The whole idea of walking in to a surprise situation makes me sweat. It’s almost embarrassing. I guess I enjoy embarrassing my friends. They would agree.

I also don’t want to actually plan my own party. So many people are comfortable asking friends to join them for dinner or to attend their get-together. These folks probably have much more exciting birthdays than I do. Another friend of mine celebrates her birthday for 12 days each year. I think this is brilliant, though I’m not sure she gets 12 times as many gifts.

Speaking of parties, have you been to a kid’s party lately? When I was little, birthday parties consisted of a sprinkler, some balloons, cake and a Polaroid camera. Now, a first birthday party will have 50 or more guests, coolers of beer and drink coozies emblazoned with the birthday child’s name. I’m sure the sticky little one year old will always remember their special day.

Once, I took the kids to an Elmo birthday party at a Walton Way church playground. It really was a cute party, with a life-sized Elmo, cake and containers of goldfish snack crackers (on the show, Elmo has a pet goldfish named Dorothy). The party favors were goldfish. Live ones. What sounded like a great, relevant gift to the attendees led to expensive trips to the pet store and subsequent toilet funerals. I’m not sure that anyone expected to have the death talk with their toddlers that week.

So this year, I spent my weekend eating great food with my important people. It couldn’t have been more pleasurable and exciting. I’m ready for another year. I’ll embrace 34. It’s just a number, right? Next year, though, I’m going wild. I’m planning my own, month-long birthday celebration. It’s going to be a Hello Kitty party. Don’t forget to stock up on kitty litter before you come and grab your party favor on the way out the door. Meow!

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