I find birthdays to be depressing. It’s not about getting one year older – I know that’s much better than the alternative. I think it’s just that I’ve always wanted to be made to feel special on my birthday, and that so rarely happens.
My best birthday in the recent past was when I was pregnant with Wildling. It was two weeks from my due date, and one week from her actual birth, though of course we didn’t know that at the time. Will booked a maternity photo shoot for me, because he knew I was sad about not having many pregnancy pictures (incidentally, that was his fault – seriously man, pick up the camera!). After the photo shoot, he took me to a day spa for a foot treatment that included not only a foot massage but a scalp and shoulder massage while my feet soaked. And then after that we had a nice dinner at a seafood restaurant. It was wonderful and happy and special. That was probably my best birthday ever.
Last year my birthday was terrible. I was only a couple of weeks postpartum, and I had terrible painful mastitis (that’s a boob infection, for those of you who haven’t heard of that). I was still kind of sore and bleeding from the birth, every time I nursed Mellow I wanted to scream in pain, and I was on antibiotics. Will tried to make things nice and made arrangements for us to go out to dinner with some friends. He asked where I wanted to eat and I told him it was my birthday, I didn’t want to have to make those decisions. So he picked. And he picked a burger and wine place. I do love wine, but as Will knew very well, I was on heavy doses of prescription antibiotics and wasn’t allowed to drink. And as Will also knew very well, I haven’t eaten red meat in over twenty years and I have no interest in burgers. And as Will also knew, I’m allergic to cumin, which is apparently the primary ingredient in both the veggie and turkey burgers at this restaurant. Like I said, I just want to feel special on my birthday, and picking a dinner place where I can only consume french fries and water is certainly not the way to make me feel loved in any way.
My birthday was last week. The in-laws watched the kids and Will and I went out for dinner (which was delicious!) and drinks. But it was just another night out. Nothing special about it. For a present, he bought me a pair of pants that don’t fit, so I have to take them to get hemmed. Yay. I shouldn’t be disappointed about that, but we had a talk about this specific pair of pants when he got the same ones in a different color for my Mother’s Day present and I said I needed a petite size. Did he listen and forget? I don’t know. Maybe he’s as distracted as I am by the utter insanity of parenting Wildling.
I know the origins of my birthday depression, and I do so wish I could overcome it. When I was ten or eleven, my parents got me a scooter for my birthday (picture an ’80’s version of a razor scooter, not motor scooter). It was red and white, and I loved it. But I remember scooting around in circles in the driveway, alone, and feeling cold and a bit sad. The sky was dark and cloudy, and there was a chill fall breeze. I remember that day so clearly, and the feeling of loneliness, and I remember thinking ‘this is how my birthday is always going to be: dismal and lonely.’ I think that’s why I want to feel special on my birthday. I want to be able to tell that ten-year-old girl inside of me that she was wrong and I can find happiness and I don’t have to be that sad unloved child anymore. I want to be able to tell her that, but I can’t, because she comes out every year and depresses me all over again.