November 13, 2010

Birthday wishes

Secret: I'm not crazy about holidays.

When my mom was a kid, her family had a lot of financial struggles, and so their holiday celebrations were very simple. On the other hand, my dad (the sixth of nine kids) had huge holiday get-togethers - Christmas mornings were absolutely chaotic. Think about it - if just his parents and each kid got each other one gift, there are already over 100 presents - then add aunts, uncles, and Santa! mom's santa collection - yikesSo when my parents married and had their own family, they decided holidays would be a mixture of their traditions. We have Mom's numerous little touches, mixed with the grandeur of Dad's holiday rituals. It calmed down a little a few years ago, but then when my brother was born, we got right back into the spirit of huge magical celebrations.

Almost every year, I have some sort of anxiety attack right before Christmas. Don't get me wrong: I love being with my family, and I love how happy it makes my parents to have everyone get together to celebrate. But I'm a pretty simple lady, and so a lot of holidays feel very overwhelming to me. I prefer more basic celebrations - small and low-key. It's not just Christmas, by the way. But no matter what the holiday, I don't get as excited as the rest of my family does.

My one exception, though, has always been my birthday.

As a kid, I would make paper chains to count down to my one special day of the year.this was five years ago? oh man. I would wear my favorite outfit to school (usually complete with a wild homemade birthday crown), my class would have cupcakes and sing to me, and my family would have whatever I wanted for dinner (usually Mom's homemade chicken parmesan). One of the best parts of having a November birthday was being able to blow out my birthday candles in a pumpkin pie instead of a cake - it has always been my favorite! November 20th was not only a day that I looked forward to, but no matter what happened during the other 364 days, it was the absolute happiest day of my year.

So the other day when someone asked me what the date was and upon telling them, I realized my birthday was next week ... it kind of shocked me. It was one of those revelatory adult moments where you realize that some of the things that were magical as a kid just aren't as special anymore. Now, with the stresses of daily grownup life, it can be really easy to overlook the simple pleasure of having one day that's all your own. And it made me kind of sad, to be honest. I wish I could recapture the joy I used to feel during every single waking second of my birthday.

So, I'd like your help.

Sometime between now and next Friday, I'd like anyone who is interested to send me a birthday thought. It could be advice, or a wish, or a quote, or an idea ... anything! Could be serious, could be funny, could be anything! Just write something out on an index card, take a picture, and e-mail it to me.

like this!
or like this!
it's up to you!
As per my family traditions, I won't be able to look at them until my actual birthday (which is so much harder with actual birthday cards - especially since one of my uncles always sends his cards two to three months early - they just sit there, taunting you!). But I'll open them Saturday morning and post them all here on my blog!

If you'd like to participate, please send your picture(s) to my e-mail address - and make sure the subject is "Open November 20!"

Thank you! :)


Anonymous said...

Oh just wait. You're still so young :) Pretty soon you'll be forgetting how old you are. Seriously, I have to do math to figure out how old I am every time. Every year past that magical "21" makes the number mean less and less. Of course, except for the milestones like 30 or 40. But I've passed both of those!

Amy said...

This is a great idea :) Expect something from me soon!

P.S. I gave you an award on my blog :)

Unknown said...

Mary, you are just the cutest little thing! As I was reading your post I began getting a little sad for you; to not remember your upcoming birthday is just not right. This little project of yours is just what you need to bring the spark back!

Unknown said... it correct that you will be 24?

Mary said...

Yup, I'll be 24! Hello, mid-twenties...

Anonymous said...

I'm in! Something coming your this week!

Jessica said...

Great Idea!!! :)