Happy Birthday to Me
By Holly Carrington
There's something about women and their birthdays, and neither science nor men can really explain this phenomenon.
Some of us have been set up from birth, with mothers who planned and participated in huge birthday extravaganzas, making every wish come true. As a kid, my heart beat with feverish anticipation the night before my birthday, and I would fantasize about the gifts I would get and the attention that would be lavished on me from sunrise to sunset. My parents would scramble around and in the place of our usual Total cereal (my parents were sticklers for nutrition), a white box was presented containing four delicious doughnuts. The celebration was underway.
And it doesn't stop there.
For some inexplicable reason, I begged to have my 16th birthday party at Dick Clark's American Bandstand restaurant. My parents made sure I got the best table in the house. The fuzzy memories of my 21st birthday play out like a mini-Mardi Gras celebration, complete with a parade, if you count your friends helping you stumble home a parade. Then, I meet my future husband and can't understand why he not only didn't remember when my birthday was at first, he sometimes truly forgets how old he is.
Why do women love to celebrate their birthdays, and why does my husband laugh when I started penciling in dinners and parties at the start of my birthday month? Yes, I said month. Is it because we thrive on attention and use the day we were born to revel in being celebrated? Is it because restaurants send coupons and discounts on your birthday? Is it my mom's fault for throwing me the best birthday parties ever? Could it be the treasured dining experience at the now defunct American Bandstand?
I think it's all of the above. Women love being recognized, celebrated and singled out, if just for one beautiful day. It's about taking time for you, when you can see friends and family who are so very thankful that you were born.
After spending roughly three months of borderline obsessive planning for my daughter's first birthday, I realize the birthday cycle continues with full knowledge I'm setting her up for awesome birthdays followed by high expectations and inevitable disappointment in her adult years.
But still, make no apologies for going out, armed with coupons for free tacos, and causing a scene because you are one year older and wiser. I'll be waiting for my doughnuts and the parade I'm convinced my husband is planning.