May 18, 2011

Way Back When[sday]: Birthday Week

Grandpa was adamant about a lot of things in his life and shared it with us often. If you do something you love, you'll never work a day in your life. Everyone should travel when they retire. Everyone needs to have a hobby they can't afford. Everyone gets a 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!


The Book Florist said...

Happy Birthday to you! That sounds like a lovely thing to do, and it reminds me of a little thing that my family used to do years and YEARS ago, called 'special day', which was a random day every fortnight in which one person would get treated to little special things: riding in the front seat of the car, getting to choose a video from the library to watch on Saturday, having their own packet of Mentos in whatever flavour they liked... It was pretty wonderful.

For my birthday EVERY SINGLE YEAR, I watch 'You've Got Mail'. It is my favourite movie of all times and it makes me happier than any other movie on the face of the earth. My whole family sits down and shares a little bit of love for two hours. It's my lovely little tradition, and I don't plan on ever stopping! Last year, I also went to Borders bookstore on my birthday and out of the spirit of the moment ended up buying a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Beautiful and Damned' for way more than it was worth! It's a great, great book, though!

Anyway, have a glorious birthday week! Take care.

Marizabeth said...

I find it mildly funny that I am completely enabling your birthday week, and spoiling you a bit to boot, and every year I forget my own birthday. I get all excited the week before and then around bedtime on my birthday I realize what day it is, after it's over. And then, throughout the year, I tell people about four different ages that I could be! hahaha

Patchie said...

TBF: How many siblings do you have? It was only me and my brother, so we were both treated to different things at the same time if possible. Plus we're 4 years apart, so our interests wer pretty different. It's easier to keep things even with 2, I imagine it gets harder the more kids you add into an equation!

Marizabeth: You totally do - "buy the hat! Buy the hat!" Don't worry, we won't forget your birthday this year :-)