Monday 9 January 2012

Birthday Party Goes Bust

So in a fit of optimism I decided to plan a party for my upcoming birthday.  I think it had something to do with feeling like I hadn’t properly acknowledged or welcomed the decade I currently find myself in.  So, I sent out a few invites right away, and received enough positive responses that it looked like the night would be full of drinks, dancing, and fun. 

Now I have a history here. My birthday comes at a bad time, soon after Christmas, so not only have I often been on the road to and from family Christmases on my birth date, but if I’m home, often no one else is, or everyone is too broke and tired after the holidays to remember, or make much of an effort, for my birthday.
 I can remember birthdays past – in my childhood - when if I wanted a cake, I baked it myself, coins wrapped in wax paper and all.  My Mom was a single parent and busy or not much into baking, my sister was likely mad at me, and my brother didn’t ever give much of a damn about anything that didn’t directly involve himself and his own well-being. 

There is a feeling here, when you make your own birthday cake that is still with me; a question maybe of wondering if you are worth all the fuss. After all if you were important, wouldn’t someone else take the time to bake you a cake, and put icing and candles on it?  I can’t ask my late mother why I ended up baking my own birthday cake.  I can recall her telling me about my birth however:  how she drove herself to the hospital, how the mean nurses left her alone in the delivery room, how the doctor never came by, how she ended up shaking and scared, in shock, all alone during the delivery, though I’m sure someone at the hospital showed up eventually to cut the umbilical cord and write down the numbers.
Which is what happened at my party:  some key people cancelled at the last minute, others arrived late and not at all.  In the end I did visit with one friend until two other new friends came in carrying Nanaimo bars, which really added to my enjoyment of the evening.  And two of us did do some dancing. But I was left with the feeling of trying too hard.  And of disappointment.

I guess I remember now why I had been keeping my birthdays low-key; enjoying cake and dinner with my in-laws if we were visiting them; being grateful for the cake my husband buys or bakes when we are home.  And what I have learned over and over on my birthday - and again this year – is not to have too many expectations.  Don't pay too much attention to who does or doesn't show up to the party, but to who is with you in the quiet hours before and after, who takes time for the little things you like, and who spends time with you throughout  the year.

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