May 18, 2011
Way Back When[sday]: Birthday Week
I very distinctly remember sitting on the floor of their old living room (and I say "old" because later an addition was added on and they turned the old living room into their bedroom so they didn't have to climb the stairs as often) and I was playing with my little brother. It was a few days before grandma's birthday. "We're going out to dinner for your grandma's birthday tonight," he told us. "Grandpa, it isn't her birthday yet." I said. He knelt down next to me. "Everyone gets a birthday week. Why only celebrate one day? It's your own holiday, you decide how long you celebrate for!"
Of course as a 7 year old kid this is the coolest thing you've ever heard. I'd use it to my advantage as much as I could growing up - bending the rules, excuses to go shopping, reasons for my boyfriends to take me to movies and out for dinner. As I've gotten older they've turned into more personal excuses - reasons for staying out too late on a work night, a good reason to stay busy and plan fun things all week, an excuse for a total impulse buy ("it's my birthday week, I deserve this hat!").
Thanks to grandpa, I've embraced it. I celebrate multiple times in multiple ways, because why shouldn't I? I've made it through another year. I've worked hard and learned new things and no one ever throws you a parade or party for the little life lessons and trials you overcome daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. I used to get praise for all the little things - loosing teeth, learning to hold my breath under water, scoring a soccer goal, getting an "A", helping with the dishes. Now I land a job, pay my bills, make plans and cook meals and stay financially stable. I make ends meet working 9 - 5 and still manage to fit in all the things I love - photography, knitting, theatre, RennFest. I manage my time and still do my absolute best to be there and help my friends and family. I don't expect praise. I don't even necessarily want praise, because I wouldn't be satisfied with myself as a person if I didn't do these things. But once a year for one week, I let myself celebrate being me.
Grandpa, always the thinker and planner, also addressed the weekend issue: "What the hell, include both!"
This year has been no different for me: I've gone to a faerie festival, spent a day with a my own mini Doctor Who marathon and knitting for myself (I've been knitting for others for weeks), had a impromptu cookout with Marizabeth and her Bear, and celebrated with Birthday Night last night at a local hangout where I got to drink free. Tonight is probably a baseball game (unless it rains), tomorrow is a concert I am very much looking forward to in Baltimore, Friday is a Cabaret at our local theatre, Saturday is another barbeque, and Sunday a group of friends and I are going to a vineyard.
So...what about you? Do you celebrate your birthday more than once, or have something you do for your birthday every year? I'd love to hear about it!