Today is my birthday. I'm not excited and I'm not shouting it from the rooftop (as you can tell from the letter case and punctuation I used) but I am happy. I'm blessed to see another day and to have made it another year. However, I will admit that I feel a bit bummed.
In my family, birthdays are a huge deal and whenever possible (which is almost always), we celebrate in a significant way. We can't/don't always have big parties but a gathering of family & friends with cake, food, drinks and even a few cards/gifts are always on the agenda. This year is different. This year, I am 1200 miles away from the people I usually spend my birthday with. I am 1200 miles away from my personal stylist (sister, who makes sure my hair and wardrobe is right for the occasion), my cheerleaders (daughter & grandiva, who make me smile on the wakeup), my partner in crime (sistercous, who I could count on for a manicure/pedicure) and my crazy clan (of sisters, cousins and friends) who make sure I have a wildly fun time! Just as I wished to be, months ago. Before I came to Charlotte, I longed for a calmer atmosphere, less crowded holidays & turned down celebrations. I couldn't wait to 'do things differently.' And different, they have been.
Last night, while watching our usual Thursday night TV programs, my sister surprised me with a beautiful, delicious red velvet cake along with a very cute birthday card, which informed me that I should be dressed and ready to rock 'n roll by 5:00 pm this evening. She said she has a few surprises in store for me, which put a smile on my heart because I just love surprises (and great greeting cards)! Still, I find it a struggle to get excited. I'm in a new city, with few relatives/friends and limited finances. I am unable to enjoy the sweet touches that usually come with my birthday and, more importantly, I do not have the people (my daughter, siblings and mother) around me that I cherish the most. Sure, I have a sister here (that I do love & cherish) and even a few other good women that I enjoy the company of. I know my sister is going to do her best to make sure I enjoy my evening....and I'm pretty sure I will. Yet, it's just not the same. I know this comes with the territory of moving away and believe me, I thought about it.....a lot.... before I made the move. I just really didn't think it would be such a big deal being away from my family & friends on this day. But, it is.
To some of you, I may sound ungrateful and/or immature. There are folk who regard a birthday as 'just another day' or believe that birthday expectations & celebrations are for kids. You may be thinking, I should be happy I'm still alive (I am), I should appreciate my sister and her efforts (I do), I should embrace where I am now (I have) and I should get over being away from my hometown loved ones (I will). It's just that, this is my first year not being able to celebrate with my usual crew. The first year I won't be able to enjoy their big laughter, crazy antics and loving gestures. The first year I celebrate without my favorite people. But, as the saying goes, there's a first time for everything.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME.