On the back of the photo, in my mother's handwriting, is "Lorrie's 9th birthday." I'm sitting behind the cake, flanked by two childhood friends, Gail Rainey on my right, tossing her hair back, and Carol Rempel on my left, wearing glasses. Rounding out the photo - my sister and brother.
My parents always made our birthdays special. We didn't have fancy parties, but always a few friends, presents, and a dinner made with particular care. My mother baked a cake and topped it with her 7-minute frosting and candles. Birthdays were fun days to anticipate.
One year, probably my 10th or 11th birthday, I went to school and felt shunned by my friends. They whispered among themselves, giggling as they turned away from me. I was hurt and stormed home from school in a huff, thoroughly upset. Later, not long before dinner, the doorbell rang and my mother suggested I answer it. There stood my friends, ready for a surprise party. I remember feeling a bit resentful even then, hurt by feeling left out. But it soon passed.
While living in Ecuador, away from family in a remote setting, with small children, I learned that it was just fine to make my day special in my own way. I would take some time to do what I wanted, such as to sew or read. I would save a magazine for that day, or make something special to eat. Relying on others to make my day special, without communicating what that might look like, just didn't work. Lighting candles, opening a new bar of rose-scented soap, wearing a favourite outfit - these are the little things I do to mark my birthday.
Today is another birthday. I'll be at school and the day will pass quietly. But Tim and I will have dinner together at home, I have a selection of cards to open, a present that arrived in the mail, and the delight of future celebrations with family on the weekend.
How about you? How do you celebrate your birthday?