I used to love my birthday. Being woken up at an ungodly hour by the sound of someone who's voice is like that of a whale mixed with a kid having nasal problems on a roller coaster, is allowed once a year. Consuming ridiculous amounts of cake without feeling that muffin-top looming is allowed once a year. Acting all surprised when your overweight aunt Mary tries to jump out from behind the bean bag, is allowed once a year and not hilarious at all.
Birthdays are a big deal in my family. Like so many other things.
The invitations: mostly verbal since my people have surpassed snail mail AND the Internet. They're that fast.
Lots of guests: you were only born once, Mom says, so you might as well take advantage of other people's kindness on that day by demanding presents since the one you got from them for Christmas, well, is now a matching set of 15. Thanks for (another) wine bottle stopper, uncle Shawn. We're just opening bottles of wine every time you come around since you insist on seeing each one of your stoppers. And watching you get ridiculously drunk at what stage you then take off your shirt and pretend you're part of the Village People while doing the Macarena. Fusion. Good times.
A sit-down meal: no finger snacks here, friends. My family firmly believe that we're not savages. And the fact that you now have your one hand free to hold your drink with sitting at the table and loading your plate with food at the same time is not an incentive at all.
The cake: you are not the baker of your own cake. Nor are you the chooser of your own cake. Never. That privilege goes to either Mother or Sister. They have a non-erotica policy. I once wanted a Playboy bunny cake, but instead ended up with something that looked like this:
And there will be no surprises this year.
This year it'll just be Chris and I. And the dogs. We'll be having the cake I chose, sipping some champagne while sitting on our veranda watching the sun go down and smile about not having to fish out cupcake wrappers from the toilet.
This year I'm turning such an insignificant age and it feels as though I'm stuck in the middle, in a liminal phase. I don't feel like spending money on being stuck. I'd save that for Chris's birthday since he's turning 30 this year. If and when I turn 30 and I'm still wrinkle-free I might consider letting the fam throw me a surprise party.
But until then: