Another Year Older

on Monday, September 15, 2008

September 13th has just come and gone. I was born on that date many years ago but for most years, it is not marked by anything out of the ordinary. My family was never really very big on celebrating birthdays for the kids although we were expected to remember the birthdays of our elders.

The family album would suggest that there was a celebration of sorts until I was about six. I would be dressed in some outlandish costume - one of the best was this cowboy outfit, there would be a present - the one I remember most would be a small pedal car and there would be lots of cake with candles. I really have little memory of my early childhood and certainly remember little of these early birthdays. The kid in the picture seems happy and smiling but I think, a little lonely. There were no other kids to play with at these celebrations - just photos with my mother and sister.

When I was 12 years old, my sister was allowed a big birthday party on her turning 18. As our birthdays are just 2 days apart, I was allowed to invite five friends and have a piggy-back party concurrently. I guess I was excited at the time but looking back it was not much of a party. It was held in the afternoon but apart from food, there was very little to do. There were no games or such. My sister's friends were happy sitting around and chatting girl talk. That was the only birthday party I had as a child.

Before starting the final year of university, I decided to go on a journey of self-discovery while traipsing across Europe. So at one time, I found myself somewhere in Brussels, Belgium. I was trying to register to spend the night at a Youth Hostel. I filled up the registration form rather mechanically as it was getting late and I was tired, dirty and smelly. The clerk took a look and handed the form back to me. He said, "I think you have made a mistake. You filled birthday as same day as registration."

I was slow to understand what he meant. I stared at the two dates and shook the cobwebs in my head and replied, "No mistake". It was his turn to look surprised but then it dawned on him that I was in fact checking in on my 21st Birthday. "Happy Birthday" he chirped.

I was surprised. I had been traveling long enough to have lost the sense of time and I had forgotten that it was my 21st birthday. The 21st birthday is usually an important birthday to celebrate in my part of the world. In retrospect, I would have preferred celebrating it at a more congenial location. Nevertheless, I spent the evening having dinner with a Canadian student, a Welsh Parole officer and an Irish artist.

After I got married, my wife and I would celebrate each other's birthday but it too were usually low key affair in the form of a romantic dinner for two. This year though, my wife thought of throwing me a surprise party. She booked a cosy restaurant and was going to start sending invitations to close friends and church members but I kind of derailed her best laid plans by previously agreeing to emcee a dinner for young people from church at someone's home.

Well, in the end, myself, the host and two young people had to jointly celebrate our birthdays in September with two cakes. It was not what my wife had in mind but I did celebrate my birthday this year with a large crowd of friends and it will be one to remember.


Anonymous said...

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! Glück, Gesundheit und Gottes Segen, LGS!

blackcrag said...

Well, Happy Birthday, LGS! I'm glad you had a somewhat more lively birthday this year.

My own milestone is just around the corner, and like you, I barely even acknowlege them. I'll work on my birthday, go home and maybe go out for a drink or two. that's it.

xup said...

What Mago said and may I add - hertzliche gluckwunche!! And many more

Dr.John said...

well happy birthday , a bit late. But then the way you celebrate a bit late isn't all that bad.

Marja said...

Belated Happy birthday to you. Happy you had a good day.

Janice Thomson said...

Happy Birthday Lgs! - glad you had a good time.
Our family never celebrated birthdays either except when we turned 16 - on that occasion though I had the mumps and big bro ate all the cake LOL. I've never missed not celebrating at all.

VioletSky said...

Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Viel Dank für die guten Wünsche, mein Freund.

Yes, I remember you are a September Child too. Happy Returns of the Day

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks. I am afraid Babel fish could not translate "hertzliche".

dr. john,
Do you celebrate in a big way for your birthday?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Yes, thanks. It was a most satisfying day.

Sometimes quiet can be the best type of celebration!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks but can you give me a hint? I don't even know what language that is. Finnish, perhaps? Ukrainian?

VioletSky said...


And surprise parties usually turn out differently than expected! Glad it was memorable at least.

geewits said...

Well happy birthday! I've always been one to want a Very Special Day for my birthday so I've always planned it myself so as not to be let down by others. I think I started that when I was 8. Maybe now that you've experienced a real birthday party, you may want more in the future.

Anonymous said...

that's really nice of your wife to do that! Happy Birthday (belated)!

patterns of ink said...

Happy Birthday Lone Grey Squirrel. May your nuts be where you put them when you need them. (I say that as I watch the squirrels in my back yard burying acorns for the winter.) =)

squirrelmama said...

LGS, I wish you a happy birthday and a good year ahead. I'm not sure I care so much about parties anymore as I get older, although I did enjoy some "surprise" elements when I landed in the year that had THE BIG ROUND NUMBERS!! (Never mind which numbers). However, when you have a birthdate like mine - December 25 - you learn to go with the flow and just accept the fact that it is ok sometimes to be on the sidelines.

Jo said...

Happy Belated Birthday to you
Happy Belated Birthday to you
Happy Belated Birthday, dear LGS
Happy Belated Birthday to yoooooooo.

And many more!!!

Jocelyn said...

Oh, you give so much attention to the years of NOT celebrating that I feel the excitement and emotion of this one that WAS may have been undermined.

C'mon, pal. Give us some photos of you being feted!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Dutch! I should have guessed.

I think I would enjoy the thought of having a big birthday party but I would still probably slip away to somewhere quiet.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks. It is good to have a wife that thinks of these things.

The sad truth is that squirrels only recover a tenth of the nuts they bury and as I get older, it is going to get even harder to remember where i put them!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Wow, that's a date that's hard to forget. It's nice to have a party but it is even nicer at times to have the quiet of the sidelines.

Many thanks.

Haha! I like moping about. I didn't take any pictures of the party but some others did. If they give me a copy, I might put it up.

Joyce's Ramblings said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Mine was the 16th.
Mine was quiet to. Its another day but as the years pass and the number goes higher I think thats old.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

And a happy birthday to you too. How thrilling it is to meet other September babies.

heiresschild said...


i'm usually very obnoxious about my birthday and celebrate the whole month of august, but this year was very low-key for me, even though i went out to dinner. not a lot of hoopla like i usually do. oh well, maybe next year i'll go back to being obnoxious.

Andre said...

Holy old grey squirrel!

Happy Belated Birthday friend. And here's my gift to you.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Boldog szuletesnapot!

Happy (belated)birthday, Squirrel!

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