Today, my birthday eyes me from the calendar like a big dog craving a cheeseburger.
When did the magic disappear?
When I was little, February dragged in slow-mo. But TV’s Captain Kangaroo always sang and dedicated a candle-laden cake on my special day. (That he serenaded thousands of kids born in March didn’t occur to me.)
Mom asked what I would like for dinner. No washing dishes! I received gifts, including my first bicycle at age 11.
Hiking the distance to my magical 16th birthday took forever. Not only would I drive then, but pimples would vanish, and long-overdue curves would appear.
The next day, still cursed with a negative bust measurement, I suffered the first inklings of cynicism.
Five years later, even with girlfriends celebrating and 21 roses arriving from my long-distance fiancé, a cold, adult realization icicled the hoopla.
Birthdays wouldn’t stop.
When I turned 30, Hubby tried to soften the blow with a pretty plant — cheaper than roses. Our baby refrained from puking on me that day, though she refused to skip diaper changes.
Three children steered birthdays toward a new frontier of McDonald’s parties, giggly sleepovers and laser-tag wars. Years before, I didn’t think I’d live until my birthday. Now I hoped I would survive theirs.
The year my husband and I turned 40, birthday carolers wearing pajamas serenaded us. They brought a beautifully decorated cemetery cake, complete with a figure crawling out of a grave.
Hubby served on a board that accidentally established a unique birthday tradition. During a meeting, someone arranged for a cake to celebrate a new member’s birthday. The guy’s surprise was even bigger than we anticipated, as his birthday would not arrive for months. We had so much fun that wrong-day bashes for new members became a yearly ritual.
Years sprinted past, and my birthdays faded in favor of grandchildren’s head-splitting, joyous celebrations.
Not long ago, I changed decades. Immersed in a writing project, I barely looked up from my desk. A birthday only meant I was growing older, fatter and weirder.
Upon arrival, we didn’t see his car. I kidded, “Hope they remember they asked us.”
Hubby smiled as he opened the door. Our children and their spouses hugged me. All the grandkids. And dear friends, gifts unmatched by any they could bring.
Birthday magic was back. Better than ever.
Has growing older proved magical for you lately?