When did birthdays stop being fun?

birthday girlWhen I was a kid, the countdown would start 3 months in advance.  I would drop carefully crafted hints about what I was hoping for for a gift.  I’d dream about how cool I was going to be when I was 7, then 13, then 16, then 21, and then the glow started to fade a bit.  Birthday’s weren’t so bad through my twenties, and thirties, and the forties were marginal.  The fifties actually stink.   I already have everything I want.  Cake has too much sugar in it.  I can’t get drunk anymore (just look like a drunken 55 year old idiot) and besides, my friends are all busy with their grandkids, and my family is too far away or too old.

I used to count on my Mom to make my birthday special.  She’d make sure I’d get what I wanted, or something very similar.  She always baked my favorite cake with peanut butter frosting.  On our birthdays, Mom would always make our favorite meal for us too.  Mine was fried chicken, corn, and mashed potatoes and gravy.  Gifts were  always carefully wrapped, and be-ribboned, often with curlie queues of different colors.  The cards were always to be opened first.   I only had 2 birthday parties where I got to invite friends, one in the picture above, with my friends from church and the neighborhood, and the other when I was 9.  Mom made a pizza and we had soda.  It was probably the only pizza I had growing up.

This year I turned 56.  The day was filled with well wishes from all my friends on Facebook.  Mom, and my ‘sister by a different mother’ sent me cards in the mail.  My kids called, and we made plans to celebrate when they visit in 2 weeks.  My husband sang to me.   I cleaned the dog pens and had leftover hamburgers for lunch.   Mom sent me a $25 WalMart gift card.

Where is the fanfare?  Where is the parade?  Where is my curly queue ribbon!


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