I was born on my grandma’s birthday and from what I heard, she was the most excited person on the ward – like plop a winning million dollar lottery ticket in her lap kind of happy. In the few years we actually celebrated together, I sat on her lap in front of a disgustingly thick chocolate frosted cake and flashing bulbs from every which way while a crowded house sang to us in off-key. My older cousins ran amok up and down the stairs and I always kept one eye on my dad and that vein in his forehead that told me when he reached his “people-ing” limit…
…oh and that Jello my grandma used to make in those deep glass dishes.
Sometime, perhaps it was after my third sibling was born and right around when my Papa passed, the birthday celebrations fizzled out. All of them. Birthdays became nothing more than a slab of cake left on the kitchen table and whoever was around to sing after dinner. It was my 12th birthday when my younger brother climbed his way on to the table and sat in the middle of my cake. Ate half of it while we were watching a movie in the basement. Everyone laughed except me. I really wanted cake.
My dad said, “Why are you so miserable. The corners are still fine. Just eat that.”
I looked at my brother who had cake slathered on every ounce of toddler fat and when he raised his hands to clap “F**K YEAH” I saw that he had blue icing smashed in his armpits because why the hell not. Then there was that 15 pound soaking wet diaper.
In the middle of my cake.
His nickname is still “Cake” by the way.
But in the corner of my 12 year old heart, I still call him “Little Asshole”
In high school and college I found my tribe of
alcoholics people who liked to party. Since my birthday always fell on Labour Day, the weekend celebration was a gong show from Friday to Monday.
God love my liver and kidneys.
And then somehow we all made it to school on a Tuesday.
Then I met Shawn and he reintroduced me to what “normal” people do on birthdays.
I’m like, “Why are you all sober? You’re all singing? Is that cake? Presents? Are you all coming to hug me? I don’t like hugging. I don’t like germs. Your fat baby has snot on it’s…oh your hugging me. Look bish, I’ve got a nail file. Back. UP!”
And his family hugged me.
And it was awkward AF.
But this is what you do apparently in normal households I’m told.
So then birthday celebrations were kind of sort of back on.
Flash forward to 2017. We don’t do anything fancy or spectacular. I’m not the ME! ME! ME! It’s my birthday Month! Kind of a person. All I want is the three of us for dinner and a little getaway if the weather is nice.
My sister usually takes me for coffee and we chat and she usually embarrasses me in a store somewhere.
I get phone calls from my siblings – this is a rarity yo. So I treasure these calls.
My dad takes me out for coffee or breakfast during the school week and my mom makes me a cake if she has time.
And no my brother DOES NOT TAINT my cake.
I actually really like my birthday low key like this.
You know, it’s funny….I never remembered what gifts I got for any of my birthdays.
Well except for that one year when my Papa and Grandma bought me the pink Barbie corvette.
No girl ever forgets their first Barbie car.
But I always remembered the people and the hideous haircuts our parents made us have and the good times we shared.
That’s what matters.
And good hair.
PS. Happy Birthday Grandma xoxoxoxo