Why I'm Turning in My Birthday Diva Crown



Photography provided by Lauren Chesley

 

I am having a birthday epiphany.

It literally feels like the dawning of some sort of new Aquarius … I am turning in my Birthday Diva crown.

But first I must do a little explaining behind the Birthday Diva crown mentality. I was actually born a Birthday Diva. I inherited the disorder.

Let’s back up 55 years. My mother was completely over the moon to have a baby girl. I was the first and only daughter and granddaughter. I had an older brother. But my mom had always wanted a girl. In the midst of an unhappy marriage to my father, she probably realized on this day that I might be her last child and only daughter.

My mother also loved decorations and themes of any kind. She loved planning. She loved Modge Podge, never mind the creations that came along when the hot glue gun was invented. Plastic flowers and glitter were glued on everything.

She even loved complaining about all the ingredients it took to bake Mama Horte’s (aka my grandma’s) chocolate cake. (One of which was Kahlua, no less. That was a big deal back then … I became a drinker early on.)

So you see, I was born a Birthday Diva. I spent much of my childhood absolutely convinced that I was indeed the real and only favorite child. Every kid wants to know that for some reason. (Sorry, big bro!)

But as years went by, I also came to realize my mother loved a good party.

My birthday, you see, is one week before Halloween. My mom (notice I didn’t say “I”) hit the jackpot. Halloween and a birthday all together. It slowly dawned on me that perhaps I was, sadly, not the favorite child after all. I had simply spun the wheel of fortune and landed on a great day. This was also lucky for my lifelong friend, Tammy (Maid of Honor in both my weddings). We shared this birthday party extravaganza. Tammy was born November 9 … close enough to Halloween. (Thank you my friend and confidant!)

I did have the most phenomenal, beyond belief, over the top Birthday/Halloween parties a kid could ever imagine. Ponies and pumpkins and hay rides galore.

Fast forward 28 years and my first child also, not surprisingly, was born a Birthday Diva … and on and on times four. I have given birth to four more Birthday Divas. You see how this multiplies. It turns out I also, not surprisingly, loved a party and a glue gun. I also was, unknowingly, unhappily married. Planning parties takes up a lot of empty space.

Combine all of that and what you get is four extraordinary birthdays a year. Plus mine of course! In fact, every year saw five over the top extravagant birthday parties with themes and ponies and on and on. My mom was still doing mine until the year she died in 2012. That’s a lot of parties.

So now I hope you see how the Birthday Diva mentality quickly becomes generational. But this year I am officially putting an end to it.

Here’s Why I’m Turning In My Birthday Diva Crown.

Believe me it’s taken 55 years to get to this.

Truth be told, and I hope some agree, birthdays are often disappointing. It always seems like there are too many expectations, so much build up to the big day. But when the day finally comes, it’s sometimes just sad. My kids didn’t pop out of a cake. The world didn’t stop spinning. Somehow it just wasn’t the greatest day on earth. Somehow I only remember that so and so forgot to call and I don’t remember all the ones who did call (before FaceTime made it easy to remember.)

At 55, I finally realize that the actual birthday isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. It’s the way that we make it special. And we don’t have to wait for one day a year to do that.

As I sit here with no glue gun in hand, no outlandish plan about to be hatched, I am actually loving the quiet and the calm and the peaceful solitude.

I looked forward to celebrating my first anniversary with Old Spice on Monday (If Halloween and the birthday coincidence weren’t enough, I squeezed in an anniversary, too.) I am looking forward to an ordinary Tuesday when I will turn 55 with old friends and Old Spice. My kids won’t pop out of a cake and I won’t be baking that ridiculous Mama Horte cake. Although I wouldn’t turn down the Kahlua.

It’s taken me awhile to know that true birthday presents come in random, beautifully wrapped packages every day.

This Old Birthday Diva Gets It.

Here is what I know…

Birthday presents come on a random Wednesday afternoon my son calls just to say hi. Just simply to say hi and ask how I am? Turns out he was thinking about me walking across campus.

Birthday presents come in the middle of the night when trouble is brewing somewhere and I know I am a good friend and a good listener.

Birthday presents come when I get to take a long train ride or road trip with just one of my children. What’s a better gift than one on one time … they are still vying for the favorite child spot.

Birthday presents come when my best friend buys me a porcelain container in July just because she knows I collect them. She bought it for me at on-line auction no less. Her knowledge surpasses mine.

Birthday presents come when friends show up just because they were in my neighborhood.

If I just pay attention, I might just notice that a birthday present comes on a Saturday morning when Old Spice brings me coffee in bed. Here he comes shuffling across the bedroom carpet in his pink boxers. I die over this moment.

These are the most extraordinary gifts I never will forget.

Sorry kids, but maybe I will save future generations of our family from suffering the Birthday Diva affliction. Today, my friends, a new kind of Birthday Diva has been born. To the everyday rhythm of a life well lived and cherished and celebrated.

Happy birthday to me. I’ve got myself a new crown.

 

Reprinted with permission from Stuff of Life Blog. See original post here: http://stuffoflifeblog.com/2017/10/24/birthday-diva-crown/

Lauren Chesley is a contributor to LEAD Cincinnati, Venue Magazine and Make it Better, is writing her first book and blogging along the way about the journey of being "unapologetically you" post-50 at http://www.stuffoflifeblog.com.