Your birthdays, the best day of the year

November is the month of birthdays in our house.  We have three birthdays, each days
apart, beginning with mine and ending with my third daughter’s birthday, the
last for the year in this immediate family and in between we celebrate the youngest’s birthday.  
We fuss about
birthdays, a throw back to our childhood’s, my husband’s and mine, when
birthdays were enjoyable enough but rarely fussed over. 
To me it’s the one day of the year when you can claim a
special place.  Invariably, at
least for me birthdays, my own birthdays are a disappointment.  
Other peoples’ birthdays can be fun.  You know the song: 
‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to…’
That’s the feeling, though no one’s heart is breaking over
a lost or unfaithful love, though at a symbolic level I suppose the grief is to
do with being born, of being separated and out in the world. 
I saw a you tube clip of twins who had just been born, only
they did not know it not yet.  
looks as though they are being held together in the arms of a midwife.  They are breathing independently but
their eyes are shut.  They cleave to one another as if they are still in the womb and their arm movements
have the jerky feel of babies in utero. 
I want to watch them wake up.  I want to see the look in their eyes.  I want to see them cry, even to greet
the world, but the clip stops just as they are lifted out of their amniotic
And so presumably their
lives begin.  Their birthday.  

4 thoughts on “Your birthdays, the best day of the year”

  1. When my daughter came back into my life sixteen years ago we had a bit of catching up to do and so birthdays and Christmases became major events—I’d buy practically as many presents for her best friend and boyfriend as I did for her—and, for years, they were great fun. Not so much these days. Now she has her own life, she’s married, and the only time she actually comes over to visit is on birthdays and Christmases and, as I think I’ve mentioned before, we do all the birthdays in June so that splits the year up nicely. Other than that my daughter and I meet once in the intervening months—so about March and September—and that’s it apart from the odd e-mail. A couple of years ago she asked me to cut back on presents. She said she was finding it a burden trying to match me and so I agreed although I never expected her to try and keep up. I’m supposed to buy her one present—and Carrie gets her one—and that’s it. I refused to place a limit on the sum; that was too much to ask of me—seriously, what can you buy anyone with £10 ($AU17.68)? They’re no longer the joyous celebrations of the nineties and early noughties. They’re now chores.

    Everyone has to grow up. Men tend to cling to childhood more firmly than women so it’s not that surprising that my daughter would be the one to call time on things rather than me. She’s always been the sensible even among her friends and that’s pleased me but the little boy in me didn’t half sulk when she pulled the plug on present-giving. The thing is I only have the one daughter and I’m a generous person by nature. It’s hard for me to try and pour all the love I have into a single gift. I found a handbag this year (which I see is now on sale). Usually she lugs around these enormous things with everything bar the kitchen sink in them and she has lots of them so I thought I’d go for something a bit classier but not too expensive. I also bought a nice coin to put in it because there’s something about not handing over a purse empty. So I got her a Remembrance 2013 Alderney £5 coin because she was married on 11.11.11. Carrie’s going to get her something tea-related. Not sure what yet.

    I used to buy pressies for some of my co-workers, the ones I felt especially close to and I’d start sniffing around for stuff as early as March. There’s nothing like getting the right present. My sister was the same. It mattered to her to get it right. Once she came to see me—we’re talking nearly thirty year ago—and for no good reason handed over a copy of African Sanctus God alone knows how she’d even remembered the name but that was a perfect present. I’ve watched the BBC documentary on Fanshawe twice, maybe three times. Wonderful how he managed to combine African folk songs with western orchestration. You can hear the Kyrie here and an excellent live recording of the opening here. Powerful stuff. Still gives me shivers.

  2. Happy Birthday…
    I sometimes think the celebration to the one born on said day is more for those around to have a prompt or reason to make a special fuss that might be questioned most other days.. I like other’s birthdays much more than my own.

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