Saturday, September 23, 2006

Birthday Bliss

I am one of those people who adores celebrations, especially when they revolve around me. There is nothing more that I love than being in the center of attention. However, in the past couple years, my birthdays have been a little finicky. They'd been filled with stress of trying to come down from college and coordinate with my sister's birthday- and they always included someone's hurt feelings. (She didn't come to my party, she was so stressed out about going home she missed her dinner, etc.) Last year, Hurricane Rita wrecked my celebration with my friends as everyone was busy hoarding tuna and peanut butter. Yea, I know it sounds selfish when half of Houston was sleeping on strangers floors but as always, it is all about me. At least, this post is.

This year, I vowed it would be different. I would have everything relaxed and easygoing. My parents would come down for the afternoon, we'd go out to dinner, it would be grand. Well, mother nature didn't agree with my iternary. Wednesday, I was hit full blown with a case of why-are-you-sitting-on-this-playground-with-dust,-dirt,-pollen,- and-cedar-you-hermit allergies. I lost my voice from yelling and could feel the pollen trying to invade my sinuses. Desperate not to get sick, as I couldn't see Mom, I went on the offensive. I took every allergy medicine imaginable and started taking shots of orange juice. I went to visit the registered nurse at the day care every afternoon.

"Look at my elbow! It's got hives! Am I dying?"

"My throat hurts? Do I need antibiotics?"

"Allergies."

"Ok, I coughed. Am I sick?"

"You just inhaled a mini dust storm. Allergies."

"Oh my God! A sneeze! Tell me it isn't true!"

"Allergies."

Thursday was my actual birthday. After delightful e-cards and phone calls from my dear parents and family, I doped myself to the gills. Not only did I get out of driving the van and managed to hide inside, I got waffles from dinner. Light, fluffy waffles cooked by my husband, which I am not ashamed to say, were much better than mine. I also got some delightful gifts from my mother-in-law (duck pajamas!) and sister. My husband presented me with some gorgeous earrings. I was quite put out at work with no one noticed. I pouted and stuck my ears in as many faces as possible. Nothing.

After spending the majority of work Friday trying to hide inside as much as possible, I was hoarse from yelling at children. I got off work early to avoid being stuck outside again and drove home. After having a committee to decide on my outfit, we went out to dinner. By now, I sounded like a strangled cat. Ben had gotten all gussied up just for me, and life was good. However, like any good novel, conflict arose. Tempers were short, people were tired and the night retired early. Still sounding like a laryngitisis inflicted cat, I crawled off to bed.

The best part about birthdays is not the gifts, or even the attention. It's being able to spend time with your family. I mean this in the most non Barney way possible. After shopping, visiting and having dinner with my family, everything seems better. Before, I had delved into a pity party.

"Maybe this is just the way things are," I said, sulking. "Maybe when you get older, birthdays aren't a big deal anymore. Maybe you're just supposed to pretend you don't care, accept people are cranky, tired and busy."

After today, I realize what birthdays are about. They're not about how many activities you can have, or how many presents you receive. Birthdays are simply one day out of the year that you can celebrate being you- all parts of you. It's a way for your family to celebrate you. And that's all the really matters.

So thanks to Ben, my parents, my in-laws and friends- thank you for giving me a birthday of bliss.