• Carmen Milligan

What's the deal with birthdays?

Today is my dad's birthday! It makes me think of the vast differences in the way people celebrate birthdays. Some take it very seriously, and expect the full treatment on their birthday. Likewise, these same people tend to go all-out when celebrating others' birthdays. My friend Deanne is like this. She takes birthdays VERY seriously. She called last night and asked me what we were doing to celebrate Dad's birthday. "Nothing" was my reply, and brought an audible gasp.

Once, she planned a Scooby Doo party for her son, and even made "scooby snacks" to eat. Another time, when I had recently moved to another state, and was busy trying to work, raise the boys, get a divorce, and just in general survive, I got a distress call from our mutual friend, Annette. "You forgot Deanne's birthday." "What? What are you talking about?" "No one remembered Deanne's birthday." It was just something that I couldn't relate to. I was frying other fish. But, this particular year, Deanne was devastated.

When a person becomes an adult, and is able to buy their own items as wanted, when wanted, indulges in sweets whenever you feel like it, and gets together with friends and family at the drop of a hat, I don't understand the excitement, planning, and execution of birthday celebrations. When someone stops saying, "I am seven AND A HALF", I think it may be time to hang up the party hat.

Maybe if you are a cancer survivor and every year is, indeed, a cause for celebration. Or ... well, I can't think of another instance in which I would consider this a momentous event. Maybe Deanne can comment below on what her impetus is for yearly celebrations. I think I would rather celebrate randomly, spontaneously, and without much planning and consternation. I mean, really, these days of such wealth and abundance, it is really a big deal to make it another year? Maybe it's the feeling special to a group of people once a year. A day when all of the focus and attention is on you. But again, really? I mean ... really?

Tell me what I am missing! I am missing something really big here, I think, because birthdays are a very big industry. Make me understand!

Anyway, Happy Birthday Dad! Here's to another year behind you, and hopefully the best year yet in front of you!

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