I had a good birthday yesterday--low-key and unremarkable--in all the right ways. I went to work, gave my class two extra points on their quizzes (because it was my birthday), picked up the kids, and in the evening we went out for Italian--always my favorite meal to eat out, when it's MY turn to pick. That morning both kids were surprised to find, yet again, that I had no plans to open my presents at 7:00 a.m., take the day off, and lounge in bed with a good book.
"I guess when you're a grown-up birthdays are different," T. said wistfully, imagining herself, I'm sure, as a grown-up, one day perhaps finding her own birthday lost in the midst of work and everyday life.
"Birthdays are different when you're grown-up," I told T., "but still fun and exciting."
I meant it, because no day out of the year is quite like your birthday, when you wake up with that special it's-my-birthday feeling inside. When you're little you feel like the whole world should (and often does) stop for you on that day; you feel as if the whole world should know it's your birthday and, often your whole world does. But when you are a grown-up you still have get up early, sit in meetings, do your work, pick the kids up, feed the cat, throw some laundry into the machine, and maybe wipe some little one's backside and STILL feel special, all at the same time.
And it's all good, always, because with every grown-up birthday that passes you can't help but realize more and more just how special they are.