What My 30th Birthday Taught Me About Friendship

Photo by Marina Lima on Unsplash

I was changing a diaper when my first text of the day came in. “Hi Stacey! Happy 30th Birthday! love Gma”

I was a little stressed starting a new decade in my life, but I was starting to make peace with it — after all, today was my special day!

So, I waited for all the birthday calls, texts, and messages to come.

My sister-in-law is the best at celebrating birthdays! Our family has long abandoned the practice of giving birthday gifts, but no one had bothered to tell my sister-in-law that. And even after she figured it out, she didn’t seem to care. One birthday she bought me a necklace with my daughter’s name and birthdate engraved on it. Another year she brought a beautiful wooden cross by my office she had made herself. I couldn’t wait to see what she had planned this year!

My mom never forgets to call or text me on my birthday — probably because she was very much involved with the birth part!

And my Facebook always seems to blow-up with birthday wishes on my special day!

So I waited.

I restarted my phone. I logged in and out of Facebook.

Nothing.

My husband took me out for a dinner with our kids. When we got there he informed the waitress it was a special dinner because it was my birthday. I was embarrassed, but on the inside I was really excited.

The wait staff came out and sang “Happy Birthday” to another patron and that made me even more excited!

I waited.

Our food came (which was delicious). We ate. We paid the ticket. We gathered our things and walked out.

No birthday song.

We drove home, tucked the kids in bed, and crawled into bed ourselves.

That’s when the tears came.

They forgot!

My sister-in-law forgot. My mom forgot. My dad forgot. My brother & sister forgot. My friends forgot. The little, old ladies at church forgot. My grandma and my husband were the only ones that remembered my birthday! And not just any birthday — my 30th birthday!

I didn’t realize how much I loved the birthday attention until it wasn’t there. Maybe that makes me vain. I think it makes me human.

But I didn’t tell you this story so you would feel sorry for me — trust me, I threw my own pitty party. I share this story because it got me thinking about all the birthday notifications I get on Facebook and I scroll right past. Maybe I think I don’t know the person well enough. Maybe I’m just in a hurry. But I hadn’t ever considered that that person may be restarting their phone or logging in and out of Facebook wondering why no one has wished them happy birthday yet.

Waiting…

Why not wish everyone of your Facebook friends a Happy Birthday? Or ask your church for a list of shut-ins and send them a birthday card? Better yet — go visit the shut-ins from your church! Volunteer at a nursing home! Become part of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program! Deliver Meals on Wheels!

I cried because people forgot my birthday. But how many people are living in your community that feel forgotten EVERY day? Look around — what could you do to make this someone’s special day?