Published in The Ferndale Record-Journal, November 11, 2009
I like November.
I like the flashy leaves, the wind, the cooler, bordering on cold weather. I like a late World Series, Thanksgiving, pecan pie, and the promise of December’s holidays.
But the real reason I’ve always liked November is because it’s my birthday month. I get a little goofy inside when Halloween’s over and I suddenly realize it’s almost here.
November days until my birthday are just preparatory. I’m not sure for what, exactly. There doesn’t have to be an event, a party, or anything thrilling planned to make my birthday extraordinary. But, hey—it’s MY day. I know I probably share it with a lot of other people. I even know some of them. But it feels like it’s all about me.
I have to credit my mother with making birthdays an exceptional experience. They were always a big deal, and I perpetuated the tradition with my own children. Surprises, balloons, friends, cakes, parties, dinners out, presents—they were always extravaganzas.
I’ve learned that when you’re an adult, you usually have to plan your own party, except for when little children and spouses make an effort to fuss over you like you’re nobility. That’s always nice. But minus kids or a significant other, you get to do whatever you want and that’s not bad either.
Best birthday ever? My 17th.
My boyfriend, who lived about 40 miles away, told me to expect a surprise. I knew it wouldn’t be a visit from him, but he was nothing if not a romantic. Whatever it was, it was going to be great.
Around 5:00 p.m. I watched a flower delivery truck pull into our driveway. The driver handed me a dozen red roses and a gift card that I still have. Yup. The boy pulled through in a big way.
That night, my best friend, Lila, came over for a dinner Mom made at my request. Roast beef, homemade Au Gratin potatoes, and for dessert, a Tunnel-Of-Fudge cake. And yes, it was as insanely delicious as it sounds.
After these tasty eats Lila and I went to a movie, then I came home and shut myself into my bedroom all alone with those fragrant roses. Every deep breath reminded me that someone was in love with me. How awesome is that?
I haven’t had a worst-ever birthday. I think it’s because I expect them to be fun. Phone calls, Emails and a little extra attention go a long way with me. I don’t consider myself high maintenance, although others may argue that point.
I worry very little about aging, so the numbers don’t matter. Although, lately I’ve become slightly unhinged at the thought that I’m considerably older than I feel, and I know the end of this story, which is, with any luck I get to grow even older.
So, I anticipate my birthdays, no matter the year, and feel a kind of sweetness about having a day all to myself, even if people standing in front of me in line at the post office don’t know it. I know it, and that’s all that matters.
Eleven other perfectly good months come and go. But when the wind starts to howl and Jack-o-lanterns begin rotting on porches across the nation, my inward excite-o-meter begins to rise, looking forward to the love and remembrances coming my way.
It’s November, and it’s my birthday.