I really wish I liked birthday cake more.
It’s not that I’m opposed to that sweet confection or anything. It’s fine, especially with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. But over the next four weeks, I’m going to have to do my part on three different birthday cakes. In our house, August is the month of birthdays.
That’s especially difficult if you’re a real curmudgeon like me and actually don’t like birthday celebrations.
I don’t begrudge someone their day in the sun if they want it. I just don’t necessarily see the point in marking one particular spin of the earth in its 365-day trip around the sun.
I generally don’t wish happy birthday to people on Facebook either. In fact, when it’s my birthday, I’m just as happy when people forget it on that social media platform, since it can feel like a job going through and acknowledging all those posts in some way.
None of that is particularly important, though, when you have children. In their world, their birthday is the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series and state fair all together (when we’re usually allowed to celebrate any of those things). It’s a big deal, and any lack of enthusiasm can be seen as a lack of love.
Our oldest turns 19 this week. She feigns a lack of interest in her birthday this year, but I find that hard to believe given our past experiences with the day. I feel like she’s setting me up for a lifelong burden of “remember when you forgot my birthday when I was 19?” jabs.
It’s just as concerning for the younger girls, as we prepare to celebrate a 13th birthday and a 12th birthday this month.
It’s a lot of enthusiasm to fake for someone who isn’t very good at faking enthusiasm.
In comparison, my wife genuinely loves celebrating birthdays. She thinks it’s wonderful to take a day and fete someone different. She savors when people make a big deal on her special day. She likes to share the spotlight from day to day.
Given that I’m outnumbered five to one for people who love to celebrate birthdays, I’m trying to sharpen my ability to show enthusiasm and joy for these children, who I really do cherish every day, not just once every 365 days.
Mmm! That’s great cake. I can’t wait to have another piece in a few days!