It’d been 11 years since I’d had to share my special day with Turkey Tom. Not that the other days of Turkey week are much better. My birthday is often spent in the car, prepping holiday meals, wanting plans during a weekend most folks have established traditions. In the best scenarios, my birthday falls on its original day: Black Friday. Yes, I’m one of those people.
Waa, Waa, Waa. The big Three-Eight. What’s the big deal anyway? Perhaps a good year to borrow a term from Frankie Heck and “float” the day altogether.
This was not only the year lots of people forgot. (It’s okay, I promise! At various points during the day, I forgot, too!) It was not only the year that my bones started cracking more voluntarily and frequently. It was also the year that my favorite birthday-deals chain stores didn’t send me a free birthday freebie. No five dollars from Maurices. No free bowl from Noodles & Co. No any-size-you-want specialty drink from Biggby.
I guess the retail-and-restaurant universe decided to float my birthday, too.
Dennis asked if it was my worst.
Far from it. My worst was 2013, when I spent the day face first in a Great Wolf Lodge toilet, unloading first-trimester nausea, only to be followed up by a “birthday” “dinner” at a “Mexican” “restaurant” surrounded by 20 people who knew each other well but barely knew me. Oh, and add a 15-pound sombrero on a still-recovering car-accident-related neck injury.
No, this birthday wasn’t bad at all.
It may have lacked fanfare.
But is a birthday about the attention, the goodies, the special treatment, the greetings? Oh sure, those are nice and much appreciated. (Thank you social media, text messages, and in-the-mail!) But what about a genuinely good day? Forget this business of sharing a birthday with a turkey, a tablecloth, and thankfulness. I got to have a turkey, a tablecloth, and thankfulness for my birthday! Not everyone gets that kind of spread! I got to spend the day with people I happen to really enjoy, and regardless of if the happy birthdays rang continuously or not, the thankfuls in front of me were aplenty.
Birthdays come and go (at an oddly consistent yet increasingly accelerated pace!) — but when they go, what makes them memorable?
I’ve spent one in the ER, one in the car (16+ hours!), one nine months pregnant, and one (my 16th!) waiting four extra days to get my driver’s license because the DMV is closed on Th/F/Sa/Su of Turkey week.
I’ve also spent one getting engaged, several binge shopping with my mom, one of my sis-in-laws, or my mom-in-law, one moving into my first home, one leaving a lifelong food allergy in the past, and one in a friend’s wedding.
Birthdays, both the good and the not-so, are markers in the ground. Markers in the ground on an up-and-down life with still much to be thankful for.
My birthsgiving birthday may not always be a traditional cake-and-candles affair. But, indeed, I have much to be thankful for.