Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Very Merry UnBirthday to Me!

On Paul’s first birthday, sixteen years ago, he was sitting happily in front of his blue birthday cake, grinning a toothy, drooly grin, when we all began to sing “Happy Birthday to you!” We had only sung a few notes before he burst into screaming sobs. Every single person in my family can carry a tune, so it wasn’t the pain of hearing us that caused him to cry. We really couldn’t figure it out.

Every year after that, year after year on his birthday, Paul would burst into tears at the sound of the birthday song. By the time he was 8 or 9 he could manage to hold back the tears, but it was obvious he was still uneasy and uncomfortable with the song. His father and I finally decided the reason Paul hated the birthday song so much was because it reminded him that he was getting older and losing the joy and innocence of his youth. I don’t think there could have been a better explanation.

This morning I knew exactly how he felt. When I worked into work today my co-workers burst into song to wish me a happy birthday. As much as I appreciated the sentiment and well wishes, the song made me feel uncomfortable and a little bit scared. Every year that passes I get less and less “Happy” about my “Birthday.” I may have already lost the joy and innocence of my youth, but I’d still like to hang onto the health and hair of my adulthood.

Anyway, I've always prefered The Beatles birtday song: "They say it's your birthday! It's my birthday too yeah!"