So you’re probably all wondering why I’ve gathered you here today. Well… I’m turning 21 in exactly 12 days 21 hours 23 minutes and 16 seconds.
Yeah. That’s what I was thinking.
My parents came for a visit yesterday to bring me the rest of my furniture (god bless ‘em) and to take me out for lunch (god bless ‘em even more). We gave my dad three choices of Montana’s, Original Joes and White Spot. And so off to White Spot we went. It was nice to spend some time with my parents. I only get to see them every month or so. Living 2 hours away has its pros and cons. We talked about the normal things. Work, friends, my brother and his new girlfriend, more work. And then something interesting came up; birthdays.
Now, I’m not an absolute birthday hater. I don’t mind them. I don’t like getting old, but I don’t mind them. The thing about birthdays is I can never seem to have a good one, no matter how hard I (don’t) try. We scrapped the original plan of me coming to visit the weekend after the birthdays and decided that I would come down on the 11th or 12th to help my parents move. Ahh yes, they’re moving that weekend too. This all sounds like a good idea on the surface. We talk and talk about inviting my brothers new girlfriend to dinner and seeing my other relatives. And just then, when I think the topic is done, the worst part of all comes up. Presents.
Ok I get it. That doesn’t sound scary, right? am I right? Wrong.
It’s not that I’m ungrateful. It’s not that I don’t like receiving gifts- because I do! It’s because of this: Every year my parents ask me what I want for my birthday. My mum makes me write out a list of all the things I would love to have. Year after year things change slightly. Books, movies, makeup… but the idea is the same. I compose a list of things that I find hard to buy for myself. Like a 20$ MAC lipstick or a book that I can only order online but don’t have a credit card to use. I do this every year, and every year what do I get? An ugly necklace, a DVD player or money.
There’s nothing wrong with these items really. Necklaces can be a nice gift, DVD players are useful and money is great. But I don’t ever recall putting these on my lists. I sound like a brat, right? And you know what, sometimes I am. But here’s a little back story to this:
My dad’s birthday is September 14th. Mine is September 15th. When I was a kid (and still now sometimes) we had combined birthdays. My parents would make a variety of different foods, invite friends and family over and we would hangout outside. When guests came they would greet my dad with a smile and sing the praises of “happy birthday you old man!” Then they’d look at me and say “it’s great to see you again.”
That’s all. I was never sure if they knew it also was my birthday or if they just didn’t care. My bets on they didn’t care.
It’s not that I hate birthdays. It’s not that I hate getting birthday presents. It’s that I’ve gotten so used to getting my hopes up only to get heartbroken that I just don’t want to anymore. I only want what’s on my list. I don’t expect all of it of course, but it’s all I want. It’s always astounded me that my parents will ask for a list, ignore it and buy me something totally out of left field, and then get upset that I don’t want it.
But this is what I’ve come to expect. And again, I’ve made a list this year. And I’ll probably send it to my mum in all its MAC lipstick glory and receive and goldfish. Or a can opener. Or maybe even both.
if i sigh loudly enough will all of my problems go away