Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy Birthday?

“Tomorrow is your special day. I can’t believe you’ll be 28.” I say it a little giddy, possibly to annoy him. I know he is indifferent to birthdays. He’s like his dad.

“Whoa Mom! I’m only going to be 27.” I guess he cares about the number, but not the day.

“Really? Hmm . . . I guess you’re right.” I reply, admitting that one of us is getting old.

Yes, today is my son’s 27th birthday, but don’t bother texting him. He won’t respond. And writing on his wall is not possible. He’s not on Facebook. And even if he was, his birthday would be purposely omitted from his profile. He doesn’t want 250 of his closest friends acknowledging his birthday simply because Facebook reminded them to do it. I must admit I’m with him on that. “Alison has a birthday today” is not a message my Facebook friends will receive on a certain day in March.

I imagine “Happy Birthday” will be said to him numerous times today, even if he prefers otherwise. (Well, I’m guessing my husband will forgo the greeting.) It’s not that he’s against having a happy day. He just doesn’t see the big deal. It could possibly be the attention he dislikes, or more likely, he hates being treated differently simply because the calendar tells one to do it. He doesn’t think Hallmark should dictate how we live our lives.

Sometimes, I believe my son has it right. He is never disappointed on his birthday. He has no expectations. And for those of us who assume bliss, gifts, and scrumptious chocolate cake – without calories – will be part of our special day, we will most likely be frustrated and discouraged.

So, who creates the “happy” in our birthdays? And who is responsible for our expectations? Is that funny looking Chuck E. Cheese the culprit?

After a depressing forty-something birthday, when my husband was in meetings all night and two of my children asked if I was making dinner, I decided no one would have the ability to make my birthday happy or sad. I would determine its outcome. Yes, I love it when a friend remembers, or a loved one calls, but those are bonuses.

Happiness. It is the wish of birthdays, and really, it’s the desire for every day. Happiness. Sometimes it is hard to find, but it can happen. Mostly it depends on where we are seeking it. I just know it won’t be found in a Hallmark card.