you only get one birthday

When my daughter Gem was born she was whisked away by one of the specialists to be checked over. Being six weeks early we only got a few seconds with her before they needed to do a series of tests. I’ll always remember one of those specialists saying to her in a South African accent “Happy birthday, it’s your birthday today!” I had never thought about it like that before. That was her one and only birthday. We celebrate every year but in reality what we’re celebrating every year is her birthday anniversary. You only get one birthday.

Does that make you a little bit sad? It does for me. It’s like we’re all just chasing the dragon. Maybe my birthday will be fantastic this year! I’ll go out and see all my mates and drink and have the best time ever! But will it really be as amazing as your real birthday? Where every fraction of a second was experiencing something totally and utterly new? Nope.

Will I get away with forcing everyone to sing “happy birthday anniversary to you, happy birthday anniversary to you…..and sausages on the bus.” Can I contact Hallmark and let them know their error in their ways? That would be a fun conversation. “I just purchased a birthday card for $14.95 and note that it incorrectly states Happy Birthday instead of Happy Birthday Anniversary.” He’ll agree and then as the call ends I’ll hear him murmur to himself “A Happy Birthday Anniversary card. We could probably charge $19.95 for that…”

Tomorrow I turn 34. I’ll be celebrating the birthday I had 34 years ago. Due to the impact/grip social media has on our lives I’ll likely spend a large part of the day reading happy birthday messages on Facebook. This is nice. What the heck would I have done several years ago in those few minutes of downtime between other stuff.

I’ve never been one to care too much about celebrating my birthday. Nice food, nice cake, a few drinks is swell. I do however feel, as should you, that on that one day a year people should treat you differently, god like perhaps. They should pretend that you did something amazing on that very day many years ago. You didn’t of course. It was your Mum that did something amazing.


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