having my cake &

I’m pretty bad at birthdays – like stinky bad.  I’m not going to remember yours even when facebook reminds me. If I do, I probably won’t do anything terribly special.  I might buy you a taco, I know a good place. Or, I might send you a text.  But chances are much better that I’ll do… uh… nothing. It’s kind of how I was raised. In fact, writing this is reminding me that I missed the birthday of someone very special to me.  Hold on while I facebook apologize!

So, every year when my birthday rolls around, I expect everyone to be as oblivious as I normally am about such things so it’s such a lovely surprise when it turns out they are never as boorish as me. People call, they write, they take me out, they text and facebook message. Okay, that’s not precisely true.  My dentist is the only one who “writes.” On a postcard. With an anthropomorphized tooth. Still! People love me way more than I seem to love them back – if the measure of such things is birthday swag.

Birthdays are good.  I like ’em. Especially when people say things like, “41? No WAY!” to me. Especially when I get new shoes. Because I do. Every year. Whether or not I need them. Especially when my kids look forward to it like the day belongs exclusively to them. “It’s MY mommy’s birthday!” “Nu-uh, it’s MY mommy’s birthday!” Especially when birthdays force my reluctant husband to put the march madness remote control down already. (Note to my mom: You really should have thought through that due date a little better – for his sake.  So inconsiderate of you to have me during the best basketball of the year!)

My birthday makes me smile. Especially the year I spent the day complaining about how my husband was bound to let me down and he surprise-partied me. Or, the one where he bought me a piano! Or, the one where he took me to the book store and forced me to keep picking books ’til I could hold no more. Or, the one where I came home to a kitchen covered in sticky notes from my friend that said, “Laurie for President!” and “You are so skinny!” Yep. That one happened today.

Growing up, the day was special because if it were your birthday, then you were the kid in the family who did not have to do the dishes. You could choose dinner. (Pork chops broiled into hockey pucks were my particular favorite.) You got a small present. The following Sunday, you were the kid who got a costco-(before there was such a thing as costco)-sized box of your favorite candy bars from your favorite Aunt. To share or not to share with your 7 other siblings? That was always the question!

So, it’s the day. Go on. If you want to tell me I don’t look 41, you can. You can.

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