Saturday, December 29, 2012

Many Happy Returns

Technically, I’m thirty years old today, but it’s possible I’m not thirty until next month, unless I’ve actually been thirty since September. It’s kind of a long story.


“I hope your daddy told you it would be on the 29th,” grandma said while we were discussing the upcoming family Christmas party.

“He did not,” I said.

“Shame on him! I assigned him that over Thanksgiving!”

“No problem,” I said. “I had no plans.”


It was only later I got sad about it.

It’s my birthday!

My 30th birthday!

It’s supposed to be a milestone! It’s supposed to be special!

And I’m spending it at a Christmas party?

“I suggest you quickly make awesome birthday plans,” Sarah told me, playing the part of my shoulder devil. “And then tell them, ‘Sorry, can’t come. Awesome birthday plans.’”

“Actually, maybe I could come to town early and meet you for lunch beforehand. Just so I can have a separate birthday celebration on my actual birthday.”

“You could do that,” she said. “Or you could just be like, ‘Sorry, I have plans that day, since it’s MY BIRTHDAY and all.’”


But family Christmas was scheduled for lunch time. So much for birthday lunch plans, I thought. “Any chance we can move it to five or six?” I asked grandma on the phone.

“Honey,” she said with genuine concern, “do you have other plans that day?”

“Well, it’s… just…” and I stumbled over the words, not wanting to spell it out. “It’s my birthday.”

“I know that, but did you have other plans?”

I sighed. “No, not especially.”


I moped. I complained to anyone who would listen.

Christmas ate my birthday!

It had come down to choosing between Christmas and my birthday and it wasn’t fair! Other people don’t have to make this decision. Other people get to have two separate celebrations each year: one for Christmas, and one just for them.

I’m getting the short end of the peppermint stick here and I don’t have to take it!

“I’m thinking of moving my birthday,” I told Charlotte at work.

“That seems very sensible of you. What date did you have in mind?”

“I’m not rightly sure,” I said. “I was leaning toward October, since it’s my favorite month. I went to an October birthday party once and it was fantastic.”

“Lots of fun decorations in October,” Charlotte said, nodding.

“But, well, the only problem with my current birthday,” I said, glossing over the fact that it’s my only birthday, “is that it’s too close to a major holiday and I don’t want to make the mistake of just swapping out one holiday for another.”

“That is a conundrum,” said Charlotte.

“So I’m leaning toward September. There are no major holidays in September. Possibly on the seventeenth. I think I’d like to have it on a day with a seven in it.”

“I can see you’ve given this a lot of thought.”

“More than you’ll ever know.”


There were complications with this plan, of course. If my birthday was going to be September 17th from now on, did that mean I was already thirty, or that I wouldn’t be thirty until next year? Would this make me older than my husband?

But Sarah thought it was a great idea. “Maybe I could change mine to the same day and we could be twins,” she said. “Have you looked at June? No major holidays in June either. We could have pool parties.”

“That’s it!” I said. “I’ll have a floating birthday! This year, I’ll just move it to January 29th. In 2014, I’ll move it to February 28th, then March, then April. In 2017, we can be twins on your birthday. In six years, I’ll have a pool party, and then in ten years I can have the Halloween birthday I’ve always wanted!”

“That’s awesome!”

And my Facebook status that afternoon read: “This is just a heads up, everybody: My birthday has moved. If you have any songs or gifts or cards or cakes or well-wishes, please hang on to those until January 29.”


“What’s this?” Matt said when he saw the Facebook post that night.

“Oh, that! I’m moving my birthday.”

“Moving it?”

“It’s my new floating birthday plan.” I briefly laid it out for him. “And in twelve years, when I’m 42, it will be in December again! Unless I’m 43… I’m not entirely clear on how the math works out.”

“Stop,” he said, holding a hand up. “Why are you doing this again?”

“Because I don’t want Christmas for my birthday!”

“And have you adequately explained this to your family?”

“They should know by now!” I said.

“Have you told them, specifically, that you would like to keep Christmas separate from your birthday?”

“Aside from hanging out with loved ones, what else would I be doing for my birthday? How am I supposed to tell them that getting together for food and fellowship isn’t what I want? That’s crazy!”

“Dear, moving your birthday sounds crazy. You have to call your grandmother and talk to her.”

“It’s just easier to change my birthday,” I said.

He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed deeply. "For the love of God, don't say that when you call her. There are like four different ways you can inflect that statement and all of them are sarcastic."


And the phone call started out a little like this: “Matt said I had to call you because I sound crazy but I assure you I’m not crazy.”

And it ended with, “I understand completely! Why don’t we move the Christmas party to dinner so you can have lunch with your friends?”


Yesterday, my coworkers threw me a thirtieth birthday party. Today, I had another party with my friends. Then I had family Christmas but with plenty of “Happy Birthdays” thrown in for good measure.

When all was said and done at the end of the day, I got on Facebook to tell everyone thanks for making my birthday special.

Only Facebook still thought my birthday was January 29th.

“Oops… Let me just…  there. Fixed it.”

Maybe it is a little crazy, but it is startlingly easy to change your birthday.

I changed mine into something wonderful, with a little help from all of you.


  1. So glad you had a good birthday!

  2. Really had fun seeing you & Matt. Hope you had a happy birthday! Maybe we can get together with your shoulder devil and celebrate a floating double birthday party in June just for the fun of it:)