It’s my berfday :)
Okay, maybe not today, exactly, but it is this week. And I can assure you: I am NOT one of those women who dreads the turning of one year older, and I doubt I ever will be. For me, is the perfect time to wallow in self-indulgence, to accept as many good wishes as those around me see fit to give, and to eat whatever the heck I want (read: Japanese Steak house).
When I was little, we may not have had a whole lot, but that doesn’t means we couldn’t put together a mean birthday celebration. The day would start with exuberant birthday greetings, at which time it would be announced that today was Erin’s day, and whatever I wanted goes. Being the youngest of three, I looked forward to this day allll year. The ability to trump any of my brother’s and sister’s wishes? Brilliant!
As silly as it may seem, perhaps the best and most loved tradition of all was the ability to choose my cereal of choice. I have mentioned before how my mother was careful to feed us only the most nutritious, wholesome foods when we were little, so this little luxury was of utmost importance. We each had one shot—one!—to choose our junk cereal for the year, and I agonized over choosing just the right one. Fruity Pebbles? Lucky Charms? Trix or, heaven forbid, Cookie Crisp? No, even I, at the tender age of 7, couldn’t bring myself to choose the last one. I think those magically delicious freeze-dried marshmallows that wily leprechaun peddled won out most years.
After a big bowl of sugary goodness, I’d get a special lunch with a sweet note tucked in by my parents for later discovery. I’d float through the day in a haze of happiness, proud to wear whatever construction paper crown or gaily colored sticker my teachers deemed appropriate for the beaming birthday girl.
Once home, it was party time. My favorite dinner would be prepared, the China would be laid, and I would avail myself to the place of honor at the head of the table. I’d revel in whatever decorations had been hung—the age old, plastic Happy Birthday banner, various colored crepe paper streamers, and the ubiquitous balloons. I’d ohh and ahh at the bouquet of flowers my father would offer, and squeal with delight when at last the cake my mother prepared would be laid before me.
The candles would be lit, the lights turned back, and every person present would belt out the birthday song with absolutely no regard for harmony or pitch. I would tear into the offered presents with abandon, squealing with glee with each newly revealed treasure. A Barbie here, a book there, none were expensive but all were prized, accepted with all the fervor and excitement of a Nobel Peace Prize.
The coup de grace would come last: the ability to choose the TV programs for the evening. Oh, the extravagance! After being princess for a day, I would climb sleepily into bed, grinning goofily for all the joys the day had brought.
I’m happy to say that that pleasure has never diminished. After realizing how much birthdays meant to me, my hubby has gone out of his way to help me celebrate in style over the years. Since I am heading to see my sister this year for my birthday, he surprised me last night when I got home from work at 10:30. For the few hours we shared before bed, he lavished me with all my favorite things: Grilled steak, roasted potato, and sautéed kale dinner, a homemade cake with icing he made using my own recipe, a perfect little pint of Haagen Dazs, a glorious bouquet of flowers, and—last but certainly not least—a wonderful present that I had seen weeks ago and had dearly wanted.
Here’s to spending simple birthdays, celebrating with the small but wonderfully delightful treats that are from the heart, and sharing that special day with those we love. I wish for all of you the same joy and celebration on your own birthday as I have always been blessed to have on mine.