For those wonderful visitors from the USA, I hope that you and your loved ones had a fantastic Thanksgiving today!
At the stroke of midnight, my husband John at Life and Times of John Krejcha gave me an awesome birthday gift. It was from the heart! It was his November 25th birthday blog.
I was very emotionally touched and it took awhile to process. He did tell me afterwards that everything he wrote was sincere. I guess I was looking for the punchline or April Fool's gag somewhere!
I can get away with turning around the candles this year but not next! Bummer! :-)
Birthdays fill me with mixed emotions. I really enjoy OTHER people's birthdays. It's fun to treat, spoil and surprise those I care about and love. I enjoy writing heartfelt notes and trying to pick out a special gift that fits that person perfectly.
As for my OWN birthdays, I have a lot of ups and downs. Being adopted, I started wondering very early on (probably about 7 or so) whether or not my birthmom, birthfather and extended birthfamily ever thought about me on my birthday. It's one of those thoughts that I continue to have to this day.
I love my parents very much. They always did their best to provide me with special birthdays and to recognize my day. They still treat me and are so very loving and generous. I look forward to their cards each year because they are so heartfelt.
At age 7, I decided that I did not like opening up birthday gifts (or ANY gifts) in front of other people unless it was a one-on-one thing and even then, I had to feel REALLY comfortable with the person to actually enjoy it. I'm not sure if this had any correlation to be having Aspergers or being somewhere along the autism spectrum but there were a lot of sensory issues with birthdays and birthday parties that I remember left me feeling overwhelmed.
I know some of the weird feelings about opening presents in front of others started at a birthday party I had. I was opening gifts from friends and I received a game that I already had. That wasn't the problem. It was totally fine with me. I was taught that it was the thought that counts and I would never want to hurt anyone's feelings or embarrass them. So I told the gift giver thank you and smiled. Well, another kid who had been to my house before knew I had the game and blurted out something to the effect like, "but you already HAVE that game!" It was so embarrassing. I felt so bad.
I also always feared the sounds of balloons popping. There is a game they'd play sometimes in elementary school where you'd have to run and sit on a balloon. Anyone play that? I HATED that game! At least now I understand why.
A few years later, I had a birthday party where one of my friends wrapped up a gift in a box within a box within a box within a box within a box... (This actually happened to Justin on his 11th but it didn't seem to phase him, thank goodness!) Although everyone around me thought it was hilarious and funny, I just was embarrassed because it made the gift opening process so much longer and I felt foolish. Of course I never showed that. I was very good at putting on a happy face at a young age.
On my 16th birthday, I had a co-ed party. There was a guy there who I was sort of dating. He was much more "worldly" than me if you know what I mean (if not, you soon will). He often made fun of how shy and introverted I was when it came to things like holding hands and such. Anyway, I was opening up gifts in front of my friends and got to his. It was the album, "Like A Virgin" by Madonna. Now of course Madonna was very popular back then but this gift specifically had a second "hidden" (not so much) meaning. I was SO embarrassed.
These are a few of my experiences opening up gifts in front of others. Ugh... A Happy Birthday to me would start out the way today did where my kids each came in the bedroom and sang me the Happy Birthday song (Sprout version...) and where my husband who baked brownies for me last night because he knew I had a MAJOR chocolate craving also made me pancakes this morning for breakfast. Very sweet!
To me, some of the best gifts in my life have been thoughtful gestures or random acts of kindness. Words backed up by action mean a LOT to me because I have seen a lot of fluff in my life and I truly prefer the substance.
I was thinking earlier today back on some of my favorite or most memorable birthdays. My 5th birthday I remember playing Duck Duck Goose in my parents' family room with kids that came to my party. I remember Blake (who is now a very successful Silicon Valley business owner and executive) was having his turn and was saying, duck, duck, duck and then when he got to me, he said "GOOSE!" and slammed his hand down on my head. OUCH! We played "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" later and if I had been at the age where a little revenge had crossed my mind, I think he might have gotten the tail! :-)
My 18th birthday was very special for a number of reasons and I cherish it. I got my first really romantic gift (a special music box) from my first love and was finally old enough to hit the dance clubs in college. My 21st had lots of memories too although the ending... well... let's just say that I REALLY did not need both a Tom Collins AND a Long Island Iced Tea. Three days later, I was still living that down... (I have never had a Tom Collins OR a Long Island Iced Tea ever since.)
My 40th birthday was incredibly special. I honestly try to have as little fanfare on my own birthdays as possible. Spending it with the family is cool with me and if I can sneak away for a little private time, that's just icing on the cake. Now if you add in a bubble bath, WOO HOO!!! Something to dream about...
For my 40th, John wanted to do something elaborate for me that was a surprise. It bums him out that I can pretty much guess all his surprises before they happen. (i.e. our engagement day) I have a knack for reading certain people and he is one of them. Guess that's why I scared off most men! Anyway, the big surprise for my 40th was that John took me, Justin and Ryan to a beautiful 3 story beach house in Oregon that was almost right on the beach and had a great view and a hot tub. I'd never been in a place like this but it was one of those things that I always thought would be so awesome someday if we could ever swing it.
We had two nights there. I was so thrilled it did not rain on my birthday. I could totally enjoy the beach and I wrote "Free at 40" in the sand, enjoyed the waves and had an amazing time with John, Justin and Ryan. That "Free at 40" that I wrote in the sand is still there. It always will be. I have it etched into my mind permanently.
Thanksgiving birthdays are always interesting. This is my 5th. The first happened in 1971, then 1982, then 1993, 1999 (the year Justin was born) and now 2010. At first one may think they happen every 7 years but once you add in the leap year stuff, it's a different pattern. The NEXT time my birthday will be on Thanksgiving isn't until 2021 so I wanted this one to be fun since it was my first one with the kids that they'd both have a chance to remember.
I'll write more about my actual 2010 birthday and today's Thanksgiving in my next blog. I have some thoughts and reflections. It was an interesting day... For now, it's getting near the end of the night and the end of my birthday and I want to say a few prayers and have a little quiet time.
I do feel very blessed. Thank you to all out there who remembered me in your thoughts, prayers, by email, Facebook, message board or elsewhere. There are some family and friends that I haven't heard from in a very long time and will always keep the door open for. I'll be thinking of you and the Aspierations crew!
Happy Thanksgiving and God's Blessings to All!