Today’s Throwback Thursday might seem more like a pet peeve than an actual throwback story, but I’ll do my best to accommodate both purposes.
Late one December night, a teenage girl sat in her parents’ living room watching Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, when she suddenly doubled over with pain. As it turned out, I was the cause of her pain (and she never let me forget it, but that’s another story). I was born early the next morning, which happened to be three days before Christmas and which also happened to be the teenage mom’s birthday as well.
Back then, women stayed in the hospital three days after giving birth, so I was sent home on Christmas afternoon, and the hospital actually wrapped me in an oversized red and white Christmas stocking. (Too bad no one cared to get a photo of me in it, but that, too, is another story.)
A few short weeks later, the teenage girl moved to another state with a man and left me with my grandparents (but not until after she served me with a bill for nine months’ rent for womb and board, but once more, that’s a story for another time). The birth mom and the man moved back to my town a couple of years later and lived across town from my house. She visited me once every week or two, and she lived across town until I was six, when she got with a different man and moved out of state again until I was eleven. I saw her twice for a single day visit during those five years. Then she moved back in with her parents and me for a few months, then moved out with another man and moved an hour away. This time, I saw her about once a month.
So, now that the backstory is out of the way, I’ll get to my pet peeve throwback. As a kid, I hated my birthday! I never got to have birthday parties because my Grandma was always afraid we might bother people so close to the holidays! (I actually had one once. Two girls came.) Honestly, I believe if my birthday was in June, Grandma would have come up with a different though similar excuse as to why me having a party was a bad idea.
I hated how people would always say, “That’s so cool! You’re a Christmas baby!” (Gee, you’re so clever. It’s not like I’ve ever heard that original quip before.)
I hated when my birthday present from my grandparents was wrapped in Christmas paper. I hated that on the years that my grandma remembered to bake me a cake (yes, she actually forgot a couple of times), she always made it be a coconut cake and stuck a plastic Santa on top. (The coconut was supposed to look like snow.) I hated that she kept recycling the same plastic Santa to put on top! I hated the times she forgot to buy me a birthday present and told me to just go pick out a present from under the Christmas tree. I don’t blame my grandparents. Their lives were headed in a different direction when they got saddled with raising a kid they didn’t plan on.
But I especially hated when people found out I was born on my mother’s birthday. Grownups would always make twice the fuss of how cool that was. I don’t think it would’ve been cool even if I had a normal mother who lived at my house and loved me. Kids like to be acknowledged and fussed over. They shouldn’t have to share their special day.
However, I had one great-aunt and uncle who, every year for my birthday, killed four birds with one stone. Every single year, I’d receive a card in the mail addressed to me and my birth mom (even though they knew she didn’t live with me) that said “Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to you both!” Talk about the epitome of miserliness!
Okay, sorry for the rant. Thanks for listening.
So tell me, do you or does anyone you know have a birthday close to another gift-giving holiday? Do you know two or more people that share the same birthday? Will you share the details of your favorite birthday party with us? Have you ever been guilty of wrapping someone’s birthday present in holiday paper?