My obligatory birthday post

How I used to celebrate my birthday.

Yesterday was my 39th birthday and all throughout the day I pondered all of the deep and profound thoughts I’d share with you on this milestone birthday. I planned to spend a couple of hours massaging all of my deep thoughts after I put Annika to bed and reflect on my day. Then I fell asleep with Annika around 9 p.m.

What the hell. I’m old people!

So now, here I am trying to pound it out while Annika takes a nap. And quite truthfully, I’ve got nothin’.

Birthdays have never been that good to me.

One of the best birthdays I ever had was the first year Toyin and I dated. He took me to a bed and breakfast, out for an expensive Italian meal, then pampered me until we had to go back to work the next day and put together a newspaper.

For the most part though, I’ve never had great birthdays. As a kid my birthdays typically consisted of last-minute thrown together meetings at a pizza place. There was this place in my hometown of Abilene, Tx., Crystals, that had some of the greasiest, sauciest pizza ever. The also had a cave at the entrance and a movie room where The Three Stooges played on a constant loop.

That was where I spent several of my birthdays.

One of my worst birthday memories was when I was 12 and I knew that it was likely going to be the last real “kid” birthday I ever got. I didn’t take much interest in growing up. I was pissed that I had started to develop breasts and I had been begging for a Barbie doll for my last childhood birthday. I was sure my mother understood the importance of receiving this final toy before I was forced to suffer through adolescence.

On our way to Crystals, where I anticipated opening up the last magical gifts I would ever receive, and salty breadsticks dripping with spicy cheese dip to go with my greasy pizza and an ice cream cake, my mom tossed a plastic drug store bag at me and said, “Here’s your presents I didn’t have time to wrap them.”

Inside were a couple of pairs of socks and a paperback.

I burst into tears and cried the whole way there. I don’t remember anything else about that party, but it probably sucked.

That makes my mother sound like a class A jerk. And I know it’s wrong to tell that story to the internet while she lies in the hospital recovering from life threatening surgeries and cancerous lesions. But what the hell. One thing that motherhood has taught me is that moms do mean things to their kids, sometimes, and often unknowingly, or without thinking, because they are stressed. She was probably having a crappy week/month, or maybe she was on her period. I know she loves me. And a few years later she threw me a surprise birthday party for my 15th year. It was pretty awesome. The house was filled with friends and food and cake.

My mom has pretty much been the only person in my family who consistently remembers my birthday and/or does anything to celebrate.

But one year she called me several times on my birthday and never mentioned it.

Well, it was election day. And my mom is very active politically. (That’s an understatement. She had political signs up in her hospital room until they made her take them down, citing hospital policy.)

I don’t really have a point except to say that birthdays are pretty much like any other part of life. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they suck. But they always happen.

And now that I”m a mom, I guess they’ve become less important. I mostly don’t care about having a great birthday. It’s really nice when people remember and think to help me celebrate. But it’s just another day. And now I’m a year older.

Happy Belated Birthday to me.


  1. says:

    November 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Oy! I turn 40 this year. Actually, later this month. I'm still at odds with it. I had shitty birthdays as a kid. Once I met Josh they got better until 2004. I lost our first pregnancy and found out I had cancer on my birthday. Talk about a shitty birthday and a suck ass memory embedded into your mind. "Happy birthday, by the way you had a miscarriage and cancer." What the hell!?!? My birthdays are now fun, especially with the two little guys here. And they are the best gift I have ever been given. I just still feel weird about turning 40. I don't know why, but I do.

    I hope you have a wonderful day.

  2. Larissa says:

    November 8, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    What about the time I bought you filet mignon for you birthday? That should rank in the Top Five!

    • Martha says:

      November 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm

      Oh geez! It DOES! I totally blanked. I know I'm forgetting some other good birthday memories. Mmmmm filet mignon. So good.

  3. Lindsay says:

    November 8, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    awwww….the Barbie story made my heart ache a little for you…. how about a girls night again? Drinks?

  4. Martha says:

    November 9, 2010 at 6:07 am

    @Lorien and Lindsay, you guys are sweet. This wasn't meant to try and garner some sort of pity celebration, but I'll take you up on it anyway. LOL

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