Monday, June 18, 2007

Tick Tick Tock

I was six or seven when I found out my birthday was in December. I remember not really understanding the concept very well.

You see, I was born a week before Christmas, and having a sibling with a birthday in May, it was difficult for my parents to explain why I didn't have a personal holiday in the middle of the year. It was also difficult for me to understand that most people are too busy at Christmas-time to separate a birthday and Christmas and in effect, the two are often lumped together.

And so, for a long time (or what seemed like a long time to me), my parents celebrated my half birthday. I thought it was my real birthday until early elementary school. Then, with the importance of cut-off dates and maintaining accurate records, this whole polite fiction was dispensed with.

Yet, even though I know my birthday is in December, I still held on to the "special" status of my half-birthday. And today, glancing at the calendar to date a letter, I realized that it had snuck up on me. I usually like to do something celebratory, like treat myself to a movie, or have a little shopping trip, something small but rewarding. But not being really aware, I haven't planned anything.

This makes me feel, well, "old," for lack of a better word. As though I'm passing into a phase of life where I don't celebrate my un-birthday. I have a wistful longing for those far away picnics to the state park where we drank Polar orange dry and had chocolate cake. Strange how those memories still have so much poignancy, even after twenty years. I wonder if I'll still remember my half birthday at all when I'm seventy.

2 responses:

Kevin M. Keating said...

As a kid in elementary school, we always envied the kids with the birthdays near Christmas - never believing them when they said it kinda sucked.

Now I've got a girlfriend whose birthday is New Years Eve, and, because her name is a variation of Christina, which is a variation of Christ, and she comes from a country where they celebrate "Name Days," and Jesus' Day is, of course, Christmas, and they celebrate several days of Christmas unlike most of us in the US, there are a few too many holidays to comfortably celebrate separately.

Lord knows I've taken extreme care to do this the last couple Decembers when she has been with me in NYC. Not easy. My childhood self has learnt his lesson.

Lucky me with a May birthday. No holidays will ever get in the way.

Vanessa said...

A very merry un-birthday to you!

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