I Decided To Hate My Birthday Until My Son Ruined It

I’m 33 years old today, and I have decided to hate my birthday.

This isn’t my normal reactions to birthdays. I’m a HUGE fan of cake, balloons, cake, cards, cake, presents and cake (yellow cake with buttercream frosting please). My birthday means sleeping in, sushi for dinner and my phone rings, but I’m under no obligation to answer it. What’s not to love?

I couldn’t give a crap about growing old. I think the benefits, see aforementioned “couldn’t give a crap,” become an across-the-board phenomenon as I age. I’m not totally comfortable with Alex yet, but compared to the terrified middle schooler who didn’t want to buy her shoes until after the first day of school so she knew what was cool. And by “knew” she meant “what everyone else wore,” it’s fantastic to have some freedom from OMG DO YOU LIKE ME WHEN I PRETEND I’M SOMEONE ELSE?

Those aging benefits outweigh the risks of my butt sagging to the back of my knees and my laugh lines becoming crows feet and using my gray hairs as wings to take flight across my forehead by a landslide. A small landslide in sandbox but still, I’m not lying about my age to anyone.

{sigh} This year is different though. Life is crowding me and my birthday. Hurricanes. Doctors. My husband’s job.

There is no TIME. And time is what I’ve learned to ask for since I became a mom to my two lovely and demanding kidlets.

I’m not so much growing old as growing tired.

In my heart, I know that my husband will make time appear because he is kind and loving and knows I need it, but I feel like I’m too old to want it anymore. I should be over myself. My birthday is just another day.

Until my son brings me a card and presents, which include his favorite new cars and a balloon from his birthday party.

And I remember that celebrating birthdays aren’t just about the person who was born so many years ago. They are the opportunity for those we love and love us to give us a bit more attention and affection and who couldn’t use a little more of that as we age?

Birthdays are especially important to our children, who love their own birthdays with all their hearts. How would my kids ever understand where my awe of birthdays went?  What a terrible thing to lose to growing old.

Maybe our children need to see us not only enjoying ourselves and our lives on a regular basis, but they need to be given the opportunity to share it with us. To give to us. To love us in whatever way they know how.

Let us all share the joy of being born into this wide and wonderful world. And let us grant ourselves at least a day to be reminded how precious and important we are.

Thank you to my family and friends for reminding me that my birthday is all about me and has nothing to do with me. I love you and happy birthday to me.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

21 thoughts to “I Decided To Hate My Birthday Until My Son Ruined It”

  1. Happy Birthday! That gift from E, that’s probably the best present ever. And your eyes were open to the love, which shows just how unjaded you are. I’m sorry life so crowded right now. Still, happy birthday. Eat some cake!

  2. A very happy birthday to you!!

    I hope your day is fabulous and full of all your favorite things…and that your family has a wonderful day too.

    It is the most precious thing when my daughter gets all excited about my or my husband’s birthday. It really is such a huge gift of love.

  3. Happy birthday!!! Your post made me smile. I turned 33 in June and felt quite similar to what you described. You eloquently expressed my own realizations when my own children reminded me how awesome birthdays are for everyone, not just kids. 🙂 Many blessings to you today and every day!

  4. I feel as though I should send you all my produce to celebrate with as it is my current favorite thing.

    Without that option, I wish you q hurricane free day.

  5. Happy Birthday! And what a sweet post. I kind of feel the same way about my birthday, like I’ve had 37 of them and they’re just not a big deal. But the last couple years my son has asked to throw me a party, complete with streamers, and I just sort of played along. Reading your post, I feel like a cranky old fool for not realizing sooner that he wants me to have as much fun as he does on his day.

    PS – Yes to yellow cake!

    PPS – I did the same thing with my school clothes and shoes. Thank God I outgrew that! Mostly.

  6. In our family, it is a tradition to call the birthday person at ungodly hours and sing badly into the phone.

    Since I don’t have your telephone number, this will have to do.


    PS: You HAVE to do the Italian-gesticulating-arm or it just isn’t right. Even if it makes the camera shake so much, watching the video might might make ya puke.

  7. I still love my birthday and I think grown-ups deserve to have a day each year to celebrate their lives. I hope life gives you a break today and you have a wonderful birthday! 🙂

  8. Lovely… and so true.
    “…not so much growing old as growing tired.” That totally struck a chord with me. Thanks for reminding me that letting my birthday be about me is letting it not be about me… or something… I swear I got the take away of this post- honest.
    ANd have a very very happy birthday.

  9. Happy Birthday! My husband’s birthday is today. We were supposed to go out to dinner (his idea! That never happens!) But instead, baby girl and I are eating pizza while he fixes the dryer. It seems I almost burned the house down earlier. Mark my words, nothing good comes from doing chores. Nothing.

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