As a child I'd sit in class and be incredibly envious when someone's birthday was celebrated. Their mom would bring cake and party supplies. Even as an outcast at my school I was allowed to participate because the whole class was included. Still, I longed to be able to celebrate my "special day" too.
Ah, but I was born in the summer. July, when the heat really begins to build and the sweat trickles down your back. When I was a child, not everyone had airconditioning. We certainly did not. We had screen doors, open windows, hoped for a cross draft, and had a couple of round oscillating metal fans. It just wasn't cool enough in the house for a real social gathering. Not that my family was known for social gatherings to begin with. There were a few times I remember my Mom trying to throw me an actual party. It was hard to get the neighborhood kids to come over after second grade. Remember, I was an outcast. Mom did always make a cake when one of us had a birthday and there were a few presents. Still, I missed the social acceptance.
When I married, my husband's family would throw me a birthday party. It was just their family but it was nice. Cake, ice cream, and a special dinner. I felt special and it helped to heal some of those childhood wounds. Once the children came along, all the focus was on making their birthdays as special as possible. I know that to some extent I was over compensating for my own childhood. Now the kids are older and fairly much do their own thing on their birthdays. I think I did good by them.
My birthday is now just another day. At most I request to NOT have to make dinner. I usually buy my own presents. I have hopes of spending the day reading and writing. I'm in my 40's. It's well past time to let go of childhood hurts. Birthdays are just a day to mark the passage of another year of life, to look back and reflect, and make plans to make the year to come even better. I think I'm starting to settle well into this middle-age thing...
Happy Birthday to me!