I had a birthday a couple of days ago. Now before all four of you who read this start filling my comment box with warm wishes, you need to understand something. Because my fateful day comes at the end of a traditionally busy holiday season, almost everyone (myself included) is more than tired of celebrating by the time it arrives. Most people forget it altogether while others send belated greetings which are appreciated, but not necessary. That's not to say that I have anything against birthdays, I don't. I just don't want to be another thing to be tended to at the bottom of an already daunting holiday to-do list.
My parents trained me early on for what they knew would be an oft forgotten day by keeping it low key from the beginning. The traditional parties ended at about age 6 and turned into a few friends hanging out and me getting to choose the dinner menu that night. The best remembered of these birthday meals was pizza, green beans, apple sauce and chocolate pie. Come to think of it, that still sounds good.
This years particular birthday (38 if you're scoring at home) was very pleasant. I was served breakfast in bed by my oldest daughter who also gave me numerous homemade cards and (along with her little sister) a lot of birthday hugs and kisses. Stephanie gave me a reading chair that she found half price at an outlet and a lamp for our bedroom (yeah, that's hot) and took me to lunch and a movie. Pretty good day.
I did receive a few other gifts and greetings from family and friends and believe me that meant a lot. In a strange way, low expectations result in a higher degree of joy. I'm surprised to receive anything at all, so I'm overjoyed when I do.
I believe in marking time and celebrating, however, like Carl Sandberg said, "Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me." It was a surprise to me when I arrived in this world. In fact, I can recall having no expectations about the future whatsoever. So I mark my day of entry in the same way; no expectations, all surprises. It's worked out pretty well so far.
By the way, my wife does NOT feel the same way I do. Her birthday is February 15. You might want to start shopping now.