December 21, 2009

Christmas Baby

I'm an only child. I'm a Christmas baby. When I tell people that my birthday is December 24th - or Christmas Eve - I get one of two reactions: delight or dismay. Usually, far more dismay than delight. People's eyes pop out of their head. Their volume goes up a few octaves. In some, disgust washes over their face. Others yet, give me solemn pats on the shoulder. They give me a hug to make up for emptiness, lack of love, disproportionally low number of presents that must have come from such an unfortunate Birthday. Of all the days in the year, it's a crying shame that I was born on that one. I was surely forgotten. I was overshadowed.

Some people mention friends of friends, and great aunts, and third cousins twice removed who had birthdays in December. Some on Christmas itself, or New Years eve. Poor souls. In the eyes of almost everyone I meet, it really sucks to be born the day before, the day of, the day after or anywhere near Christmas.

While it would have been nice to have a birthday in the summer, with it's flower themes and Slip n'Slides, I didn't know what I was missing.

When my friend's daughter was born on Christmas Eve six years ago, she asked me what being a Christmas baby is like. And I had to chance to explain in detail how magical I thought it all was. As a kid, being a Christmas baby was perfect.

My parents would have a party at our place every Christmas Eve. It was a traditional Christmas dinner, and the one day a year that all of the family, extended family and friends would get together. It was also my birthday party. In addition to the Christmas tree, garland, wreath and nativity scene, my mother would put Happy Birthday banners in the basement with streamers and balloons. Everyone would gather around and sing Happy Birthday while I blew out the candles on a big cake.

Most of my aunts and uncles would go out of their way to bring two presents. One with Christmas paper and the other with Birthday paper. I received so many Birthday cards. I never felt that my birthday was forgotten. On Christmas Eve I was only allowed to open one present. The rest had to wait until Christmas morning. My birthday spilled over for days and days.

Maybe it's because I'm an only child, but I never thought that my birthday was anything less than amazing. I was, no I am, blessed with incredible family. I absolutely love the holiday season. I love the wonder and the magic. I love the traditions. I love the excitement. I love that the holidays are a time to remember, honor and celebrate friends and family.

And now that I'm a mother, and this is my daughter's first Christmas, I love the season that much more. It isn't about me or my Birthday anymore. I get to see Christmas through the eyes of a child.

~ humps


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