Growing up, having a summer birthday was the worst.
Where other kids in elementary school got special cupcakes, treats and pats on the back all day on the occasion of their birth, those of us cursed with non-school-day celebrations were recognized in a lump at the very end of the year. No colorful pencils. No birthday song. On the final day of school, everyone with a late June, July or August birthday was mentioned during the morning announcements — names blared over the loud speakers in one fluid rush.
“And, finally, happy birthday to those celebrating over the summer: KrissyThompsonJennaSmithMeganSniderLesleyAtkinsJohnnyMiller . . .”
So much for a moment in the sun.
To be fair, my parents were always outstanding about recognizing the colossal importance of birthdays. In fact, they’re the ones who spoiled us to death — and first put the idea of Birthdays are Awesome in my frizzy head. Long before Facebook sent out timely reminders of friends’ special days, my mom and dad made sure everyone in our social circle remembered that, though our birthdays weren’t recognized with our classmates, our days were important. They took us to the movies, baked cakes, had the friends not gone on summer vacation over for themed parties. We went all out.
My sister and I were born three years and five days apart, making us both July babies. I’m the 18th (today!); my dad is actually the 19th; and my sister is the 23rd. This trio has been dubbed “Christmas in July” for all the celebrating we do in a short period of time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The pains to which our parents went to make us feel special meant that, even without the classroom cupcakes, we got our chance to shine.
As an adult, birthdays are less exciting. There’s no morning announcement, no day off work. Where once my mom took off to take us for a special lunch and do some shopping at a local music store, vacation time is now in short supply . . . and, heck, music stores don’t even exist anymore.
I’m starting my 28th year at my desk, same as I have for most of the last seven, but that’s all right. I know my fiance and family will be waiting (with dessert!) when I get back, and that’s a gift itself.