In a few hours, I will turn 28. It's not a particularly watershed year, but I unabashedly love my birthday, so I never shy away from letting people know when it is.
I have always been baffled by people who don't tell you when their birthday is coming up. Your birthday is the one day out of the entire year when you can basically demand that people be nice to you. It's a celebration of your existence. So I don't get why some folks want to keep their special day a secret. Tell me it's your birthday, and I will hug you and buy you a cocktail. Win, win.
When I was in elementary school (and actually for much of high school as well), I would wear a gigantic button on my birthday that said "It's my birthday and I can do whatever I want." It was not very subtle. Not much has changed -- I throw myself a party every year and invite everyone I know. This year, I planned two parties in two different cities. For my 30th, who knows, my party might be simulcast in countries around the world.
My most memorable birthday? It's wasn't 16, when I got my driver's license. Or 18, when I could vote. Or even 21, when my drinking habit became acceptable in the eyes of the law. It was my 6th birthday: March 1, 1987.
You see, I was in kindergarten at the Wilson School at the time. And I couldn't wait to go to First Grade and join the ranks of the big kids. I used to ask my parents all the time when I could go to First Grade and they told me that when I was six, I'd have my chance. So naturally, I assumed that the day I turned six, I could leave the losers of Kindergarten behind forever and begin my life as a sophisticated First Grader.
I remember waking up that morning and being so excited I couldn't even eat breakfast. My mom dressed me in my favorite pink dress with a rhinestone hearts. And when I was dropped off at school, I made a beeline for the First Grade classroom, which was in the opposite direction of Kindergarten. The principal of the school, Mrs. Patton, stopped me curiously:
"Good morning, Katie. Where are you going?"
"It's my birthday, Mrs. Patton and I'm six today so I get to go to First Grade!"
"Well, Katie, happy birthday. But you will start First Grade in September with the rest of your class."
"But....I'm six TODAY and six-year-olds are in First Grade." (Duh)
The conversation devolved very quickly from there and ended with me bursting in tears, the idea of having to spend another day in Kindergarten too upsetting for me to bear. They actually had to call my mom and put her on the phone with me to calm me down. I was inconsolable.
I don't expect 28 to be as dramatic...but you never know.