The other day we were invited to play “Would You Rather” with a family we go to church with. One of the questions in the game was, “Would you rather have each monumental birthday (16, 18, 21, etc) be so awful that you never forgot it or so average you don’t remember what you did?” I answered that I would prefer the awful birthdays since they would make good stories for later and half jokingly added, “Wait, I think that already happened to me.” I’ve definitely had several birthdays that were pretty normal and non-memorable, but there’s been a handful of bad ones that have proved excellent conversations pieces. I’ll spare you the full series, but I think the all-time low was my 16th. I broke out in shingles all over my face. Not only did it hurt, but it looked like I had awful road rash and people kept asking me if I got in a bike accident. Though I waited patiently for the phone to ring, I didn’t get asked out on a date, my parents gave me an antique church bench instead of a car, and I was unable to get my driver’s license because my birth certificate was MIA. At the time I couldn’t imagine anything worse happening.
This year my birthday was definitely nontraditional. Cooper decided to sleep in until 7:45 and Noel made me hashbrowns for breakfast while I opened my stack of kindly mailed packages. Then Noel put up Christmas lights while I used pruning shears to hack away at a hideous weed tree in our front yard. I sorted through every Christmas decoration I’d collected in 25 years and Noel tried to fix our car, broke it more, and then managed to get it back to it’s original state. After a short walk we cleaned up and went to dinner at Red Robin. Cooper was mesmerized by the restaurant’s many ceiling fans and the din from other noisy families made it impossible for his shrieking to distract other people. We returned to our house where Noel made me a cheesecake and we watched The Importance of Being Earnest. When the movie ended I promptly fell asleep, so we didn’t eat any cheesecake until the next day.
Growing up I think I always wanted my birthday to be some sort of extravagant celebration. A whole day where no one thought about anything except me and made my every wish come true. I’m realizing that not only is that sort of occurrence pretty unrealistic, but I don’t actually like that kind of attention. Maybe it’s just part of growing up, but my “boring” birthday was wonderful and I would venture to add, memorable.