Yesterday was my birthday. A few years ago, I was kind of depressed on my birthday because no one really made a big deal of it. To be fair, Josef’s always been good at celebrating my birthday and giving me thoughtful gifts. He’s even thrown me a few surprise parties (one that a snowstorm ruined!). I just didn’t *feel* particularly surprised and celebrated on this particular birthday.
There was another birthday, probably 7 years ago, when I worked at the private school. The office across from mine was the school president’s suite, and his admin asked me to sit at her desk at a certain time. Accustomed as I was to work surprising us on our birthdays, I smugly accepted her request to sit at her desk. Mmm hmm, this was all a guise to get me over to that area so they could surprise me with cake like they had for several years in a row at this point. The time arrived, I touched up my make up, and headed across the hall.
The admin quickly gathered her things and handed me some notes she’d scribbled for my coverage time. “Ms. Jones is supposed to be by to pick up the box, and if Mr. White calls, tell him the event will be on Wednesday.” My eyes glazed over a bit as I felt crestfallen. Where was my birthday party? I miserably sat at her desk for an hour, teary eyed at times, and none of my colleagues wished me happy birthday. Thank goodness for Facebook, as a few of my darling cheerleaders that I coached came to my office to give birthday greetings.
Fast forward to three years ago and I was admittedly a mess. I was still riding the post partum depression and anxiety train and it was banked on all sides by a heavy fog. In a picture from that day, I am holding my infant son and not smiling. I felt ugly. I was treated to lovely gifts and a lovely dinner. One of the gifts was a gift card for a massage, a gift from my mother-in-law for me to go enjoy myself. No matter their efforts, I felt un-celebrated somehow. I didn’t feel special. Which sounds totally ridiculous as I type this out! Perception really does shape everything, whether clouded by depression and anxiety, or just not putting it out there what you want. I think part of it was this was like my adoptive family, my husband and his parents, not my own family. I am very grateful for them, so again, I feel silly looking back on how I felt.
So I made a decision, which is the entire point of my post.
If you want people to make a big deal of you, you have to let them know. Don’t expect surprises or things you want without dropping major hints or stating exactly what you want. It doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want, but it will make your wishes known.
The decision I made was to start saying what I wanted for my birthday. Which is what pretty much everyone else does! Sometimes I wanted a humble, quiet birthday. Other times I wanted to spend it with friends.
This year, we went out to family dinner with Josef’s parents on Sunday:
And then last night, Josef, our son, and Josef’s mom went out to dinner at a Japanese restaurant owned by one of our friends.
Josef has more plans for me this weekend. He’s done a great job helping me celebrate! He gave me new boots for my birthday!
I took the day off work, got a massage, went an met a friend’s new baby, relaxed and watched tv for a bit, and then got gussied up for dinner. It was a nice day! I was sad to see it end but I was pretty tired when it did end. Slept a little too well last night thanks to some moscato I had with dinner.
I’m learning that sometimes — even if it’s against your nature — it’s okay to make a big deal of yourself. Because if you don’t, it’s not a given that anyone else will. And sometimes, you have to notice when people ARE making a big deal of you and be grateful.
Thanks for reading.