Birthdays: The Destroyer of Mental Health

1 Mar

When you’re younger, there is no greater day than your birthday. No, not even Christmas. On your birthday, it’s all about you. Your parents [s]and siblings[/s] fawn over you. You get presents, a cake just for you, the special dinner menu you requested. All of it is so exciting. If you’re lucky to be born during the school months, you get praised with birthday comments from everyone in school and maybe a birthday arrangement that requires your name to be called over the loud speaker. You can’t help but glow on your birthday.

Fast forward past the milestones of driving and drinking (NOT together please. We’re just talking about turning 16 and 21.) What’s left? Nothing. For the first few years after turning 21, you still get excited. There’s partying to be done, celebrating for at least a week with your friends. Once you settle down and perhaps get married and/or start a family, it all changes. Birthdays are really no longer about you. Sure those near you share their obligatory congratulations for surviving another day. But honestly, do you ever feel just as special as you did growing up?

I’ve learned to no longer get excited with the anticipation that my birthday is going to be amazing. There will be no surprises or gifts. There will be no butterflies in my stomach wondering what magic the day holds. I’ve spent the last few years imagining what my family and friends will do to honor me, realizing that no one can live up to my expectations. Sure there have been a few “surprise” dinners with my family. But only the first five minutes of saying “surprise!” and thanking everyone for coming mark that they are here for me. And in reality, they’re mostly there because they didn’t feel like cooking dinner that night. I have finally gotten tired of dreaming that my husband would be as considerate as I am for his birthday. There will be no surprise trips, specials cakes, breakfast in bed or gifts from my daughter picked out by her daddy. No, my birthdays have become another day where I feel guilty that others have to acknowledge my existence. The plans to get away for this weekend, while thought of by my husband, are to be set up by me. It now feels so selfish to have people think of just me for a fleeting moment. Oh what joy, I was pulled from my mother’s uterus a mere 29 years ago.
I try hard now to do my best to make those dear to me aware of how amazing they are and how truly happy I am that it is their birthday. But, much like my love for Thursdays, I know that no matter how excited I am for my day, it won’t be as great as I’m anticipating. It really starts to drain on you, the bitterness. The knowing that it won’t be as magical as you dream. People won’t spend their entire day thinking of you and ways to make it special for you. No, birthdays are now just another day, but one in which you actually get to feel a little more blue wishing people were thinking of you.  A day in which you can feel greedy and needy, but no one tries their best to make it better. Oh to live at home again when your birthday meant your parents dotted over you.

There was a moment when I was cleaning up from Emberly’s birthday party that I thought to myself, “Holy shit! I’m a MOM! I am now in charge of remembering where the birthday supplies are stored. It is up to me to make sure that this precious child is loved and spoiled on her birthday. It is now my mission to make sure that she never forgets that and that each year is more special than the last, that she feels that magic tenfold on her day. My birthdays are still going to be the death of my sanity, but now I have something just before that day that lets me dot and love on the most amazing person I know, my Emberly.

Blessed readers, please note that my birthday is tomorrow, March 2. The same day as Dr. Seuss’. No pressure, just make it a good one 😉 No pressure, you have nothing to live up to.at.all. Ignore the writing above. I have no desires for making my day special.

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One Response to “Birthdays: The Destroyer of Mental Health”

  1. Nancy March 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    Damn! I was about to get real depressed and drive right over and slap some sense into you! I feel the exact same way for my birthday. But now I get to do for Mikey what I wish my hubby would do.

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