I have a birthday coming up next weekend, and it’s gotten me thinking. (What doesn’t? 😉 For the sake of this exercise, I will confess to my true age:turning 56.

I was relaxing on the patio (out of the sun), and started to wonder: Out of 55 birthdays, how many could I remember? I decided to make it easy, and start with just my location on each July 8th. You know, state and city. Then I would up the difficulty factor and try to recall what, if any, celebration I had that year.

I went back to last year, which was relatively easy because it was a special birthday, and I had a small bar-b-que at our house in New Jersey. But what happened the year before that? I got stuck.

So I attempted to begin with the very first birthday party I could recall, which was my 6th, in Baltimore, Maryland. Actually, I can’t recall the party, but I sure do remember getting my first two-wheel bike that day. My father and uncle spent all morning putting it together, and it weighed a ton. I’ll never forget wheeling it down to the sidewalk, begging my parents to take the training wheels off, and then, after they went inside, practicing for hours trying to get it to stay up while I fell over onto my dad’s car.

I’m pretty sure that my next few birthdays were also in Baltimore, and consisted of the usual bowling parties and activities at the State Park. I think. The following 5 birthdays after that were at Tyrole summer camp in Connecticut and involved the delivery of a large box from home containing candy, comics, books and stuffed animals.

When I was 15, I accidentally set my hair on fire from the candles on my cake (my father pulled me over to the sink and put my head under the faucet). That was definitely one of the more memorable occasions. For my 16th, I was on the third day of a 6 week cross country teen tour, and had my cake in a Chicago luncheonette.

Then I get fuzzy again. Is this exercise even do-able when you get to middle-age?

I tried another tack — best birthdays of all time. Some do stand out, like my 21st. I don’t know exactly what we did, but I still have the card my mom gave me. It was a birthday card for a 2 year old girl, and she had added a number 1 next to it. “See”, she wrote, “No matter how hard I try, I still can’t believe that you’re 21. You see what kind of card I ended up buying!”

And of course my surprise 50th. For some reason, I have a better memory of my kids’ birthdays, and even my dogs’, than I do of my own celebrations. I wonder why that is?

Anyway, let me hear from you: What are some of your best birthday memories?

2 Responses to "What Are Your Favorite Birthday Memories?"

  1. jamie

    July 4, 2007

    What a great exercise. I’m sitting here scanning my memory and am absolutely shocked by how few birthdays I remember in any detail. I remember one significant birthday I was feeling so sad because nothing special was happening. My boyfriend at the time and his young male cousin felt so bad for me that they bought a cake and brought it in singing Happy Birthday, something that was likely more painful to them then a root canal. I felt loved.

    I loved reading about your bike riding and your fiery 15th (oh, my!) My very best wishes for you and cheers to a memorable upcoming celebration!

  2. Tina Clark

    July 16, 2007

    I turned 36 years old yesterday. It was my best birthday yet. I enjoyed the day with my family – my husband and 2 daughters as well as our extended family of friends. Everyone made me feel so special and where would I be and who would I be if it weren’t for them? I don’t want to know because I am happiest here, now. We even enjoyed leftover fireworks! How special is that? And Sunny is right, it should be a tradition. It seems odd to think that I am now on the other-side of 35 and 40 is around the corner but I feel the most comfortable with who I am and in my skin, with being me. Is it possible for me to be any happier? I can’t imagine so. Life is good. Real good.

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