Birthday Month

I am off to a strong start on my birthday month.

My aunt and uncle drove to Vermont to cook me dinner last night, day one of birthday month.

Despite the title and first two lines of this post I am not a particularly birthday ish person. I have had years where my parents hosted great parties, and years when the day went totally unnoticed. I have had surprise dinners and full on catered events that I arranged for myself. I have had morning breakfasts with friends, and cupcakes at lunch and nothing at all. The full range really. Unlike other areas where I zing rapidly between feelings of entitlement and soul lifting gratitude I am generally just mildly happy about whatever happens, or doesn’t.

I am quite moved by this birthday pilgrammage. Even though I can’t spell it. In the years of our closeness I have only truly celebrated my uncle’s birthday once, his 50th, when we got together for a party and assembled a pretty nice retrospective. My aunt’s birthday is, I think, in May. However we have a tradition of going shopping together in the summer and my mother buys her some sort of clothing or necklace from a store on the cape. Nice, but I sort of ride the coat tails of that one.

My little niece is turning 1 today, and although we have talked a lot about her birthday we have not organized to celebrate her in any truly personal way. I know she is too little to care, but her mother is not, and I am wishing we had sent something that only could have come from us. As it is, I hope she is not scared of balloons. We couldn’t have them for many years because of a dog we nicknamed the fun police, and I always feel a bit nervous about how people will respond to these super frightening celebratory objects. Her mom sends my boys hand made objects, and hand baked treats, and I am finding it hard not to compare…my devil may care birthday attitude sliding quickly into insecurity.

It is Steve though, that I would really feel sorry for, if I consistently thought birthdays mattered. Not only was he born on the first of the month, disallowing any sort of birthday “month” festivities…but that month was April, ensuring a lifetime of empty boxes and disbelieving friends.

Then, as if to cement his fete-less-ness, Oliver was born almost 8 weeks early. On March 31st. The day before Steve’s birthday. If you were the positive sort you might try to spin that as the best gift ever, but that first year we were too discombobulated and concerned to even make mention of his birthday, and ever since then Oliver has been the star of that week.

So I’ll leave it at this. I am glad you were born. Chloe, Steve, Oliver, Hilary (whose party I skipped to celebrate my own self), and each one of you. Here’s hoping you feel commemorated many different days, rather on just that one where you expect it.

Let there be scary balloons for everyone.

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Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

3 thoughts on “Birthday Month”

  1. Chloe loves balloons so it was a perfect gift! Thank you so much plus some chocolates for me! We had about 35 balloons on the floor after blowing them up and she had so much fun with them as well as the helium ones. I will share video with Steve! Thank you Aunt Anna!

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