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Birthday Blues

Age has always been a sensitive subject for me. But since I have wholeheartedly embraced my recent run of good luck in the great-grandchildren department, it has grown even more difficult.

When my children were growing up I deliberately threw up obstacles in their efforts to discover the truth. The date itself was easily identified as I was born on the day after Christmas - which absolutely infuriated me, because the predisposition to celebrate a natal day absolutely vanishes after a traditional American Christmas celebration. Being a mixed family, both culturally and racially, our Christmas was anything but traditional. But the post-holiday exhaustion was the same at our house as anybody else’s.

I remember exactly one birthday party as a child (when I turned 12) and I had to engineer the entire thing myself, and one as an adult (a surprise party - very uncharacteristically pulled off by my husband). And no, I don’t remember the number.

Growing up alone and lonely, this was just one more insult added to the isolation I felt, while trying desperately to be like everyone else - and failing miserably. I eventually embraced many of those differences, as I learned that there were many of us out there, who, if we banded together, made life a lot more tolerable.

But alas, the birthday problem remained.


My mother had a similar problem, only she was more fixated on the number. As far back as I remember, she was always 21 years old. In fact, when my oldest son turned 21, he called me up and solemnly announced that he was now 21 years old, so therefore I could no longer be 21! Without hesitation, I told him that this really was a problem - because my mother was still 37! (In the end we decided that I was now 37 and Mother simply dropped out of the competition.)

In retrospect, it is amazing that I was able to keep the children in the dark for so long. They did try an end-run around me by asking their father. But, not being a details kind of person, he actually didn’t know. And as described above, their grandmother certainly was not going to help them out!

To this day they are still mostly uncertain about my age, and I can envision the stampede when I drop dead, to see who can reach my wallet first to read my driver’s license!

Some fun!

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