Trina Machacek: Birthdays are reminders you matter
No it’s not my birthday. I still have several days, weeks and months before the curtain slips a little further across my stage of life. Celebrations of life are called birthdays because each one that comes along is like giving birth to your life again and again and again. That’s why it is foreign to me to hear someone say they don’t celebrate their birthday. Not just that they don’t do it “anymore” because of age. But for some reason they just never have celebrated a birthday. I, on the other side of the birthday cake will not hear of not celebrating the day when someone close to me fell into this world kicking and hollering. It’s a birthday!
Birthdays should turn everyone into a kid again. Celebrating with a birthday party was “da bomb” growing up and still is to me. As a kid do you remember getting that invitation, with your name on it no less? Remembering stuff like pin the tail on the donkey and the cake with candles lit sparkling in the eyes of everyone as the fire is blown out and hopefully no spit lands on the piece you would be getting. (But you wish for a piece with a big ole pink rose on it!) That pull of green envy at the vast array of gifts the birthday boy got. Come on, we all felt it a titch when we were little – we might not have completely out grown this one yet.
I don’t think birthdays should just be for kids though. It isn’t any more or less important to turn 7 than it is to turn 47. Both have reason to celebrate. Oh turning 7. Might not be as special as finally turning 5 and being able to hold up all your fingers on your hand instead of trying to hold up just three. Turning 47 might take a few more fingers and might cause some grown-up antics with all those fingers. But! Yes a birthday suit wearing “but.” But when you turn any age remember you are celebrating the day your mom dropped everything she was doing and dropped you too! In my case my mom was playing slot machines in the somewhat new Nugget in Sparks. I have been told it was snowing lightly, in June, and as she was growing her pile of nickels (yes nickels!) I decided to make my appearance. Such a memory. Wish I could remember it. It’s a birthday story I love to tell over and over again.
See what happens as we gain days and years and our number rises we sometimes forget the reason we celebrate birthdays. I recently got an invitation to a 100th birthday party. Now that’s a reason to celebrate. I also know a few wonderful people in their 90s and 80s and I always ask for stories of their lives. Because it’s true that when someone passes from this world to the next, a whole library goes with them. Not mentioning any names but I lived with a guy for over 40 years and the stuff stuffed in his head was amazing and I soaked up much more of his knowledge than even I realized until he was gone. Now I use that recall thingy we all have in our heads to help me do stuff I didn’t even realize I was learning. Had he not had all those 70-plus birthdays where would I be. HAHA Of course, again, it’s all about me!
I also know a few people who grew up without birthday celebrations. I’m working on those. I will not let another year be added to the life of someone I know without reminding them they matter, are important and need something to mark their very own day. Even if a gift is just a shiny silver dollar. I think that everyone deserves a brass band and parade on their birthday. I saw my father’s birth certificate once. He was born in 1927 and was adopted. But on his original birth certificate his biological father didn’t even know his birthday! It just says, “Unknown.” Maybe that’s why I feel the need to make sure the people in my circle know that I know and I celebrate their birthday.
Or maybe it’s just the cake! Yes the CAKE! It’s all about the CAKE!! Happy Birthday today, tomorrow and every day to you and those you know and love.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Find her on Facebook, Instagram or at email@example.com.