Benjamin Button I’m not.
As hard as I try to will it, I just can’t get younger every year. I just had another birthday yesterday and darned if I wasn’t another year older by the end of it. I know you don’t get one year older in one day, but tell that to my family and friends. They seem to think it all happens at once and choose that day to proclaim it to the world.
OK. I’m whining. I’m sorry. I know I’m supposed to say “it’s better than the alternative” and that’s so true. But I do dread all the fuss made about it. I’m just not that good at being the “birthday boy” and reacting to presents and silly cards and the cacophony of untrained voices singing “Happy Birthday to you.” Maybe it’s because the count is getting up so high. But that all changed last night.
In what was nothing short of an epiphany, I realized how special it is to have people who love you and have spent their life with you tell you that they care. At a small family “surprise” party last night I was blessed to receive beautiful heartfelt cards from my wife, daughter and granddaughters that engaged the tear ducts full throttle. Even a little friend of my 8-year old granddaughter, who was visiting but I had never met, made me a card. When I told her how much I appreciated her doing that for someone she didn’t know, she said “oh, Cece has told me all about you.” Cue the tear ducts again.
I was expressing this renewed enthusiasm for birthdays to my wife and she said something that struck me. She explained that birthdays are not just for the “honoree.” They’re for everyone and they mean something different to everyone. For the two little girls it was yelling “surprise!” and giving gifts. Small though they were, they loomed large in my heart. For my daughter it was a chance to say “thanks for everything Dad and I’m so happy to be able to share this day with you.” For my wife it was a chance to tell me I was her “go-to” guy. I like being her “go-to” guy. She also admitted she loves birthdays because it’s a chance to eat ice cream and cake without guilt. Amen to that.
On the list of things we have to “endure” in our lives, birthdays are pretty much on the bottom. I finally realize that. It just means there’s more to be thankful for as we age.
Eat your heart out Benjamin!
** Photo courtesy of Google Images and Warner Bros./Paramount Pictures