For the first 25 years of my life, birthdays were a massive affair. It’s the only day I get to act like the Sultan of Brunei and be the high-and-mighty-princess-of-the-universe. I get well-wishes (even the perfunctory ones like “Happy Birthday, hope you have a great time”) and plenty of useless presents that eventually end up on the shelf or worse, in the trash. But still, it was nice knowing that I’m important enough for folks to pick up another photo frame from the store and have it wrapped up and all.
It’s the one day in every year that you get to stand and shout “Look out world, here I come!” The only chance you get to celebrate your very presence in this world and all the potential greatness you hope to achieve.
But after 25, it’s all downhill. You start to realize that birthdays are nothing more than a reminder that you’re quickly moving past the age of being a “sweet, young, thang” and into the “frumpy, middle-aged” zone. Before you know it, you’ll be steep into the “nasty, old hag that tsk, tsks at other sweet, young things” phase.
I used to think I was invincible and I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. And then the years start to slip through your fingers. “Like the sands in an hourglass, so are the days of our lives“. (Don’t ask, I was a fan of daytime soaps) Suddenly, you start to consider Botox and facelifts in a desperate bid to hang on to what’s left of your youth. Not a good place to be, if you ask me.
And with a kid and a half, it gets even worse. Somehow after giving birth to another human being, it kinda takes away the gloss of birthdays. Ok, so it’s the day you were born. Big deal. It’s not like you had anything to do with it. EVERYONE’s been born before so what makes you so special. If anything, birthdays should celebrate mothers for having to go through the ordeal of childbirth.
So unlike all the other years before, I found myself missing the anticipation of celebrating my birthday. More of like a “Oh, it’s my birthday already. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was still 26.” 27 seems so old. Sportsmen approach retirement at 27. Britney’s 27 and she’s got 2 kids, a whole bunch of plat albums and more moolah than she can spend.
When I was a kid, I used to dream that by 27, I’d do something great like invent the cure for cancer or be a rock star or write a New York Times bestselling novel. But I actually turn 27 and I realize that my life is just… well, painfully ordinary. And every year, I’m running out of time for greatness.
But now I understand why so many mothers put their own dreams on hold for their kids. I look at Tru and I know that he’s going to rock this world when he grows up. He can be anything he wants, and we’ll make sure he gets a decent shot at achieving any crazy dreams he has. And best of all, I realize that maybe all the fame and recognition in the world can’t take the place of having my kids draw me a butt-ugly picture (that resembles giant blobs) and say, “I wuv you, mommy, Happy Birthday”.