to me! I suppose it isn’t “officially” my birthday until this afternoon. I was born on February 20, 1950, at 3:20pm in the Dearborn Hospital in Madera, California. And I was the “local attraction” for a day or two. At a little over eleven pounds I was “that big baby” everyone wanted to see. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always felt a sense of being in the spotlight. The position of first child, first grandchild, only daughter carries some expectations and responsibilities. I’m not sure I’ve always lived up to them. But I have few regrets.
I’m really a “grownup” now. As a child I always thought that becoming a grownup would be a magical transformation that would endow me with the power to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I remember how frustrated I was once when Dad wouldn’t let me watch what I wanted on grandmother’s fascinating new television. Gran said, “Don’t worry. When you grow up you’ll have your own television. If your Dad even touches the knobs you can slap his hand.” Strange thing to tell a child, but I was appeased for a while. That’s how it always was with the problems of childhood. “When you grow up…” was the standard solution, and so I waited for that magical day when all of my problems would be solved. Still waiting. LOL
There won’t be a big celebration for my birthday. I’m still sick so I’ll be doing some of my celebrating at the doctor’s office today. Probably settle for pizza and a movie at home tonight. I don’t think the actual method of celebrating is as important as the accomplishment of surviving another 365 days! It’s a tough world out there! Besides, I’ve had lots of celebrations over the years. I remember the only real birthday party my mom ever gave us (my brother’s birthday is tomorrow). One year she decided to combine our birthdays into one party. Now think about this for a minute. We’re different genders, four years apart, and we lived within walking distance of the school. That has disaster written all over it! And it was. Too many kids, too little food, and lots of mayhem. After that we had quiet family celebrations.
My grandmother used to make all of us elaborate birthday cakes. I remember pirate ships and cars and layers cakes with flowers. One year she made a cake for me with a doll in the center. The cake was the doll’s “dress”. It was so beautiful! The next day I took the doll to school for show and tell. On the way home a boy took it away from me and threw it under a house. I was devastated. I remember going to the principal with my mom and explaining what happened. The boy got whipped, but I never got my doll back.
I don’t remember very many birthday presents. I think it’s quite common that we don’t remember things as much as we remember events. I recall several other birthday dinners and cakes and celebrations with friends. It’s the experiences that are at the heart of our traditions, not the gifts we give or get. At 56 I’ve had a lot of experiences, and the good far outweigh the bad. I’m sure there are lots more ahead. I’ll take what I get, try to make good choices and live each day to the fullest. It’s not so bad being a grownup. Sometimes you do get to do whatever you want, whenever you want. I have my own television now, and when my dad visits I hide the remote!