Sunday, November 15, 2009

Is it bad that this made me kinda happy?

Today, while playing Monopoly with my now-10-year old nephew, the subject of my birthday next weekend came up. I told him I was spending the actual day, next Sunday, on the Amtrak with my oldest friend, returning from Springfield, where we will be celebrating. I told him this because he and I went down to Springfield last June and I thought he would want to reminisce about our trip.

Instead, he turned away, saying, "You should be here."

"We always celebrate my birthday on Thanksgiving. We can do that again this year." That's not exactly true. My birthday was always a separate family event. Then my kid sister, his mother, decided about 7 years ago that she was busier than I am and not about to go out of her way for me anymore. (I never noticed her going out of her way for me at all, but never mind. Another story for another time.) I don't argue with her or stand up for myself anymore because I worry that she'll block my access to the kids. Now that I think of it, she hasn't invited me for Thanksgiving yet ...

"Thanksgiving is too late this year! Your birthday is November 22!" As if I don't know my birthday. His frustration surprised me.

"Are you upset about this?" I asked as his glasses came off.

"He's been planning a party for you," my mom said, coming back into the room where he and I were playing. Hearing her say that started the tears.

I explained to him that I was sorry and upset, too. After all, who was missing out on singing and a present? Me! But I told him we had two choices:

1) Celebrate on Thanksgiving anyway
2) Have his party as planned, but the following Sunday

No, he insisted. It's no good if it's not closer to my actual birthday! I showed him my datebook and how my friends had different celebrations planned for me throughout the month. I said, "My birthday is not a day, it's a festival." He wrote his name down on my calendar for Sunday the 29th, we hugged, and went back to Monopoly.

Naturally I'm sorry to see him cry. But it was gratifying to know my special day meant so much to him. He's such a sweet boy.