You see, my birthday falls smack in the middle of Chanukah. When it isn't right in the thick of the holiday, it's perilously close. Growing up with a birthday this time of year pretty much sucked. I got one gift for two occasions. I always felt cheated from my fair share of the loot. All my friends got gifts twice a year, while poor little me only got gifts once.
To make matters worse for my wounded inner child, I also share my birthday with my mother. Fantastic and special you might think. NOT. Birthdays are a big deal to my mother. So, on our birthday, it was all about what she wanted. Sure, I had birthday parties and the like, but only once or twice did I ever get a cake with only my name on it. The day was never solely about making it special for me. (I can see the narcissism dripping from my fingertips as I write this.)
Is it too much to ask for a Chanukah gift for Chanukah and a birthday gift for my birthday? And if I could make a birthday wish, I would just want it to be a day like no other. Sleeping in, breakfast in bed, maybe a massage at a spa, the phones turned off, and some cuddle time with my wonderful husband and sweet cuddly boy. Nothing too fancy. G-d knows I've tried, but any call, email, letter, or package from my mother no matter how innocuous sends me into a tailspin. I need to face it: the perfect birthday is just not going to happen.
I guess I've compensated by drowning my son with birthday and Chanukah gifts. Ironically, I haven't been able to contain myself from letting him have his gifts immediately, so I'm not even sure he'll have something to unwrap each night of Chanukah. This year, I feel fortunate that my husband is sending me away on the last night of Chanukah for a weekend trip with two of my BFFs. But is this a Chanukah gift or a birthday gift?
I swore to my husband that if I ever became pregnant and the due date landed on my birthday, I would schedule a C-section to spare my child from this sad fate. Well, my son was born in September. I may have managed to avoid sharing his birthday, but some years it will land on Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur. I hope he handles it better than I do.