Monday, January 19, 2009


Well, before the actual post begins, I need to take care of a little bloggy business.  

First off: ThAnK yOu!!! to all who voted for me over at Mormon Mommy Blogs.  I came in third of nine, which I could hardly believe, and which may have had something to do with my husband, an employee of whom started talking to me about my blog the other night.  Anyway, thanks everyone!  It sounds like they are going to run spotlights on the top three blogs.  Cool.  (I probably would have known this is how they roll if I headed over there more often.  Sorry, Motherboard!)

Secondly: Less than 2 days left to enter my GiVe AwAy!!!  If you have left a comment on the original post, you are entered.  Many of you are entered multiple times.  I'll have to count, because I'm unsure if there are enough BINGO numbers for all of the entries.  If there aren't, we'll have to change plans just a tad and use tickets instead.  (Which I have on hand as a few years back I had a great plan for doling out TV watching privileges.  I never did it.  Don't ask me why those aren't in long-term storage, like the photos I'd love to scan in for the following post, because I'm not sure.)  Deadline= Tuesday, Jan 20th, 8:pm MST.  The winner will be posted Wednesday night at 8:pm.  Good luck!

Every year, as the date approached, my mother would begin to tell again the story of the most special birth we knew.  I learned the events of the weeks preceding, those of the birth itself, the visitors to the baby, and the gifts they brought.  I knew all of the details as if it were the story of my own life.

Wait a minute.  It was the story of my life.  Forget the birth of the Savior (although I knew that one very well, too) when I was growing up the most important holiday of all was my birthday.  I won't bore you all with the story in the detail that I annually heard it recited, only with the most important fact that my dad had been drinking Dr. Pepper at some point that morning.

With that kind of build-up, you may imagine the day itself.  It was always  over the top.  Even if I wasn't having an actual party there were flowers and streamers and balloons and once little silk flowers hanging with the balloons.  Always my favorite dinner and always a chocolate swirl cheesecake.  My birthday was just a huge deal.  And it was my favorite holiday.  

Then came my 18th birthday.  I was living in the dorm at college.  My mom had made me a cheesecake over the Christmas break, just so that she wouldn't miss it.  I was afraid my big day would be not so special at all.  Then came the box.  Jenny, you'll remember.  There were not only presents, but decorations and plates and forks and napkins.  And it was good she included those paper goods, because she used the BYU food department's service of sending me a chocolate cake complete with balloons.  Not only that, but that day on campus there was a guest speaker--Rosa Parks.  So I went.  That was amazing.  She was living history, and I got to hear her speak.  What a birthday!

Then came my 19th birthday.  Six of us girls were renting an apartment off campus.  My mother had sent me back on the airplane with pink carnations (among my favorites).  I can't remember if she'd made me a cheesecake, because I made one myself for the actual day.  I got a big package from her on my birthday, balloons from one of my roomies, a dozed beautiful red roses from a, ahem, friend in the Navy, and chocolate turtles from Larry, who wasn't sure what message he was trying to send with them.  That day, I'd had to see my social psych professor about an assignment I needed some guidance on, and he told me that I could be a mouth model.  Again, if I had to be away from home, I couldn't ask for a better day.

Then came my 20th.  I'd been married for three and a half weeks.  I wasn't yet as good as I am now about bluntly telling Larry my expectations for any given event.  In fact, I wouldn't do it at all.  Because that's not romantic.  (Don't worry, I've learned!)  So we went to a play that I had to attend for a humanities class, and I think I made myself dinner, and Larry got me the movie "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead."  Have you seen this?  It's great.  It's Hamlet told from the perspective of, obviously, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.  I love it.  And I loved it then, which he knew.  Um, but not for a birthday present.  I think I cried that night.  I learned that birthdays are not such the big deal for every family that they were for my mother.  My husband began to learn that he'd need to put a lot more effort into holidays than he thought if he wanted a happy wife.  I say "began" because this was a lesson years in the learning.

Now?  Well, now birthdays are not the major holidays for me that they once were.  And I say that entirely honestly.  I sometimes don't even have any dessert at all.  And I don't care.  Rarely flowers and never balloons.  And that is fine.  As long as I don't have to cook dinner.  I don't care if Larry takes me out or brings home take-out, I am happy.  No cooking, no dishes, happy birthday to me.  And as for my kids, I certainly try to make a special day for them, but I'm also trying to not set them up for disappointment on that first married birthday.  If they're having a party, though, I do tend to go all out.  But that's a subject for another post.

This year I will turn 35.  I am teaching an art lesson to #3's class in the morning, and I'm going to see if Larry will then meet me for lunch.  #3 also has a guitar lesson to go to and that night #s 1& 2 have Young Women at church and Larry has Scouts.  I'm guessing I'll need to remind him that I don't want to cook.  And that's fine.  It's certainly better than being pissed that he forgot.  I'm not seeing cheesecake in my near future.  I'm getting an awesome present though.  (I'll tell ya how it went later.) 

And, maybe, if they're interested, I'll tell my kids the story of the birth of their mother.  In detail.  Just this once.

21 fishy comments:

Octamom said...

It may be a little quieter, but Happy Happy Happy Birthday!!!!


CaJoh said...

I always say that by the time you reach 16 there is always something to look forward to on your next birthday:
16— you can drive (well not anymore)
17— you can get into an R rated movie.
18— you can vote (or get drafted, your pick).
19— you can drink in some college bars.
20— you are no longer a teenager.
21— you can legally buy booze.

Of course after that there is a big let down (the next thing you look forward to is 25 when your insurance rates go down).

So… make the most of the birthday anyway.

Happy Birthday!!!

Lara said...

My mom never made a huge deal over birthdays. When I turned 20 we were at Lake Powell and everyone forgot about it, even me. Kind of weird.

My husband however, makes a huge deal of birthdays because his mom did. So we are kind of like you and your husband, only opposite and my poor husband was horribly disappointed on his first birthday we celebrated together. Then it was my birthday and I realized. So, now birthdays are a bigger deal than I ever thought they could be (should be?) around here.

Happy Birthday to you, soon!

I remember the Rosa Parks lecture, too. :)

Jillene said...

Birthdays are just another day for me now that I am older. I don't want any hoopla or ta-do's. Just a regular old day.

I hope that your birthday is a great one!!

So said...

I'm pretty much like you in the birthday regards. I just don't want to cook on that day.

I do try to make my kids' birthday's special. I take them out to lunch and they get to pick all the meals for the day and I make them a cake. But that's about it. I have two kids this month with birthdays and I feel bad because by the time their days roll around I am worn out from Christmas and not wanting to do anything. That and the fact that their birthdays are only four days apart makes it hard for me. But I do try!

Annette Lyon said...

I'm amazed at your mother--maybe a tiny bit inspired to do better with my kids.

But my birthday? A week before Christmas. Pretty much overshadowed by that every year since birth. This year I got a totally awesome--surprise--gift from the hubs, which was fun. And yes, as long as I can have some time off from cooking and the like, it's all good.

2busy said...

I know where you are coming from sistah! My worst birthday ever was my husband was out of town on business and I spent the day shuttling three kids between different baseball games. No one even remembered. So, now I just don't have big expectations.

Diane said...

By the time I was a teenager, I was making my own birthday cakes. I make my boys' b-days special, but all I want for my birthday is the day off, oh and I want the day off from being a mom on mother's day too.

Happy Birthday!

Heatherlyn said...

I love your posts! I enjoy the way you write them. I like all the detail.

Your Mom did a great job for your birthdays. My family made a big deal of most of the holidays, but not birthdays so much. Once we turned, like 12, it wasn't a big deal any more. My husband thinks that celebrating birthdays are a big deal, moreso than I do. But he's not exactly the decorate-the-house type. But I'll tell you what, I want to do something fun for my 40th. I want to GO somewhere. And I don't feel too proud to plan the whole thing myself! Of course, I've got a few years to plan that in. And I've given Jeremy plenty of notice. Mostly, on my birthday, I just FEEL special. And I hope that you do too on yours!

Kim said...

Hi, soon-to-be birthday girl! Your mom sounds so cool to have made birthdays so memorable for you. I'm amazed that you can remember your birthdays in college--I can't remember anything about those, except I can remember a teeny bit about a couple of things a former boyfriend did for me one birthday. Anyway, it's funny how b-days eventually become a day for art projects, mutual activities, scouting, etc.--surrounded by pretty ordinary events. My "favorite" married birthday was when I think Eric was reminded of my birthday by a phone call from his mom the night before, so he ran out and came back home with a cake from the grocery store and a bagged Caesar salad and a Reese's (both of which I did like, but not quite what I had expected as birthday gifts). Even though it wasn't quite my birthday yet, as soon as he got home from the grocery store that night, he wanted to quickly celebrate my birthday. Fun times, I tell you! Good thing he has so many other redeeming qualities. Well, despite all of your not-so-birthday activities on your birthday, I hope it's a fun day for you! Love you!

Kristina P. said...

I've never been a big birthday person. My coolest birthday was my 16th, when my dad did this scavenger hunt, all over town, and I was able to finally drive everywhere. That was awesome.

rachel said...

Happy, Happy Birthday Mina dear!! So many people tell me they hate their birthday (especially as they get older) and I just don't understand. I love my birthday! I love that it's the one day of the year that people make a big deal that I was born and that I'm in this world. Kudos to your mom for making the day and the very idea of YOU so amazing. I am totally inspired to do more for my kids on their day and my hubby's whose is almost here!

Mel said...

Happy Happy Birthday!!!!

clan of the cave hair said...

How is it that our mothers handled birthdays so entirely differently? I can remember always feeling like my birthday was pretty much just like any other day only I got to chose what was for dinner and dessert that night. I guess I never felt "let down" per se, (you don't miss what you don't know?) but this seems so crazy opposite!

the letter Bee said...

I'm glad you finished 3rd (but sad you didn't get 1st place!)

Melissa said...

I too, tell my kids at our special lunch on their birthday, the story of their birth. They roll their eyes, but I can see that maybe as they get older it will be meaningful.
Great post!

Erin said...

I don't even know my own birth story. I should tell my boys theirs though. Thanks for the thought! And happy birthday!

Heidi Ashworth said...

Happy Birthday! And thanks for the reminder about Rosencrantz and Gildenstern--I have been meaning to watch that forever!

Wendyburd1 said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MINA!! I always think birthdays should be special, maybe it was how I was raised, well probably, but I try to make sure my parents do that too, make it special, unlike other days, so HAVE A GOOD ONE! And tell your kids! I LOVE stories of my parents and grandparents. It can be memories they hold onto forever!!

Becky said...

Happy b-day! My hubby doesn't do a great job all the time, but I hope yours does this year.

MiaKatia said...

Happy Birthday!!! I learned the hard way as well that if I want something like my birthday to be a huge over the deal (which I always do... still) that I have to spell out my expectations. My hubby of almost 7 years is learning.