My family always made a big deal of birthdays when I was a kid. Not with clowns and bouncy castles and hugely expensive parties, but with home-cooked dinners with my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t have birthday parties like other kids. I did. And they were awesome. Even though we didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, my mom always found a way to make birthday parties so so fun. I loved arts and crafts so there was usually some sort of creative project involved. The one birthday party I’ve always remembered vividly was my eighth birthday. My mom and my aunt made me a cake in the shape of a bear, I wore my tropical print party dress, and we all danced to the Beach Boys in the living room until our feet hurt and we all had cramps in our sides. I just didn’t want to stop dancing. After cake and presents, we decorated Easter bonnets, since my birthday fell on Easter weekend that year. Sounds pretty great, huh?
But what I miss most about the birthdays I had growing up is birthday cake. Not just any birthday cake. Always a home-made, delicious, whatever-you-want birthday cake. My Aunt Lynda loved baking. She even made cakes and tasty treats as a side job. So, when birthdays rolled around, she’d ask the best question ever: ‘what kind of cake do you want?’ And she’d make it. Whatever you wanted. Even when my brother and I had a shared birthday dinner because our birthdays are only two weeks apart, she made two seperate cakes so that we each got what we really wanted. I remember so many tasty cakes that really were made just for me. And that always makes things taste better.
Right now, with my twenty-ninth (*shudder*) right around the corner, my thoughts are full of birthday cake. And I’m missing Aunt Lynda almost more than I can bear. More than I did at christmas, more than I did on her birthday, even. I miss that feeling of anticipation, and the taste of cake made just for me.
Although I’m feeling sad and old and a bit crippled this year, I wish to celebrate by letting my birthday mark the beginning of something. I’m letting it mark the beginning of a new chapter in my life as I prepare to go back to school. I’m also letting it mark the beginning of a healthier life style as I continue to make better choices and take better care of my body and my mind and my soul. I also wish to say a HUGE Happy Birthday to all the people I know that have birthdays this week. Seriously. I know a ridiculous number of people who were born the same week as me. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EVERYONE!