Jan Stafford Kellis

Birthday Celebrations

Birthday Celebrations

My birthday falls three days after Christmas. Most people, when learning this, assume my ‘special day’ is often overlooked and that I was cheated, present-wise, as a child. They respond with a sympathetic comment not regarding my age, but regarding the date on which I acknowledge my age. I’ve always liked my birthday, even as a child, mainly because if I didn’t receive my entire wish list of gifts on Christmas I merely had to wait three days to open another mountain of presents.

My parents weren’t rich but they always made sure I had a separate celebration for my birthday. Three days after Christmas (it’s also 3 days before New Year’s Eve) is actually the perfect day to celebrate, creating a festival atmosphere on the last week of the year.

As I contemplate my upcoming birthday, a milestone only if one is concerned with prime numbers (I’ll be 43), I realize most of the birthday celebrations in one’s life are for other people. The first birthday usually passes with the gift recipient unaware, drooling on chocolate cake and toddling about to entertain the guests. By the second birthday, the child is able to enjoy opening the gifts but still has no idea why they are receiving them. Birthdays 3-25 are generally anticipated and celebrated by the birthday kid, her friends and family, co-workers and significant other(s). After 25 though, at least for me, the birthday reverts to yet another event requiring observance, if only to avoid appearing gauche for ignoring it. 

The Bookworms ladies still call me kid.  I’m the second youngest Bookworm, the eldest being 74, and the next eldest ringing in at 71 or so.  Although they are loathe to use the ‘seventy’ word, so they tell people they are sixty-fourteen and sixty-eleven, respectively.  They’re both aging in grand fashion, retaining their curiosity and joy in small pleasures, so maybe they’re on to something.