Friday, October 17, 2014

Five Things I Love About Birthday Week

So, I had a birthday this week.

No matter how old (or rather, closer to middle-aged) I get, I still look forward to my birthday every year. In so many ways, I've been the serious, responsible girl since I was a young girl. But when it comes to my birthday, I'm downright giddy and as excited as a little kid!

It doesn't hurt that since I was six years old, we've kind of treated birthdays as a multi-day or week-long event. With my brother's birthday landing the day before my own, it would have made sense for my parents to combine the celebration into a single party, but they never wanted us to feel shortchanged. So instead of a joint party, we'd have massive sleepover parties that lasted for an entire weekend and were packed with outings, games, entirely too much sugary food, and lots of friends. Mom ate it up - she loved having a houseful of kids running around having fun. I'm pretty sure Dad hid outside and did yard work to escape most of the chaos!

Now that we're older and busier, birthdays have extended to full weeks (mostly due to scheduling demands). For the last two years, I've even had show rehearsals on my birthday. This year, it was a choir rehearsal. So the fun gets strung out in drips and drabs, but that just makes the celebration last!

Here are my favorite things about Birthday Week:
  1. The baked goods. In case you haven't figured it out from previous posts, I love baked goods. Pretty much all baked goods work for me, although I'm rather partial to pie. This year, one of my young castmates baked me cookies, my co-worker Stacy made Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars for the office, and Mom is providing a pie for our birthday dinner tomorrow. And undoubtedly, Mari, who is an expert baker, will come up with some amazing surprise when I celebrate with her and Dave next week. Not to mention the fact that years ago, I traded in birthday cake for something much more delicious and season-appropriate -  Apple Dumplings. I have a feeling I'm going to be treating myself sometime very soon!

  2. The greetings. I've never been a big one for greeting cards for any occasion - I think it's an unnecessary gimmick that we're now guilted into spending money on. But every year, I love hearing from people on my birthday. Say what you will about Facebook, but the flood of posts and private messages on my birthday (and in the new version of Facebook, there is fireworks animation!) always gives me a warm buzz. (And I can always count on the immensely talented and truly delightful Anna Campbell to be the first "Happy Birthday" I get, since Australia is well ahead of us in time zones!) Add to that the texts, phone calls, in-person well wishes, emails, and endless renditions of "Happy Birthday", and I am well-reminded that I am loved by a group of truly wonderful individuals!
  3. The disturbing picture that my Aunt created and posted on Facebook.
    She's a little bit warped, but I adore her anyway.

  4. My brother. What? Yes, I mean it. My brother and I have pretty much always been close, and I think part of that stems from the fact that we very nearly share a birthday. I actually have a very clear recollection of the first time I ever laid eyes on my kid brother - after dropping the neighborhood kids off following my McDonalds birthday party (remember when that was a thing?), my dad and grandparents drove me to the hospital to see my mom. Dad pointed through the window into the nursery and said, "That's your brother." At just over 24 hours old, he wasn't that impressive to look at, at least, not to a six year old. But since then, I've definitely come to realize he was the best birthday present I ever got.

  5. The season. Really, October is a grand time to have a birthday. Sure, it's not pool party weather, but I've never had a pool, and I don't like to be hot. There's just this incredible crispness to the air that screams fall. The leaves are changing colors. Apples and pumpkins are in season. Christmas is still far enough away that it hasn't stolen the show yet. It's really the best month there is.

  6. The food freebies. I am officially signed up for so many birthday freebies that my inbox is flooded every October. From free burgers at Red Robin to free ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery, it's definitely a glut-fest. Every year, I get more coupons than I can possibly use in the 2-4 weeks that they're valid, and not end up looking like Jabba the Hutt. Thank goodness my free pastry at Panera Bread is available until December...
What are your favorite birthday traditions?

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