When’s My Birthday?

Date posted on January 28, 2006

This is the one I liked most from last week’s batch of Post Secret postcards.

I remember feeling like this at one point in time. That feeling’s common with people who celebrate their birthdays in December. Either people remember your birthday more, or they’re more prone to forgetting. Even for someone like me who anchors his birthday on a widely celebrated event (when asked, I always say my birthday’s on the first day of Misa de Gallo/midnight masses).

The closer it is to the 25th, the more they tend to forget. I can just imagine how Rey, a friend of mine born on Christmas day itself, must sometimes feel. I remember his holiday text a few Christmases back: “Let’s not forget the reason for the season,” pertaining to himself. I‘m sure he doesn’t always sound that jovial come Christmas time. Wait, that day’s also his birthday. I forgot.

Not that I take it against my friends. It’s just that when your special day is eclipsed by the Savior’s, one can’t help but feel a little peeved sometimes. When I was a kid, it was mostly about the injustice of getting one gift instead of two. Kids are supposed to get birthday and Christmas gifts. Those are two distinct occasions and little boys must never be made to suffer the cruelty of getting bundled 2-in-1 gifts.

I’ve long gotten past that. But I still find myself sulking when people forget about my birthday.

Just last December, my Mom and her entire posse from home were all over my Tierra Pura house rushing last minute preparations for our housewarming party (which was to be held a day after my birthday). An hour or two before my birthday, I decided to meet up with a friend to count down and welcome my birthday. It was a simple nightcap. I just didn’t want to stay cooped up in the house as I embraced my 26th year on earth. I felt like it was a milestone, and should be treated like one.

At around 2AM, I drove back home. My mom and her entourage were just finishing up. When they saw me come in, they said they were just waiting for me before going back home to Muntinlupa. They packed up, said their goodbyes, and left. None of them remembering to greet me.

It’s not really as melodramatic as it sounds. A few hours after, before lunch, they came back. My aunt rudely drew me out from slumber by screaming “Happy Birthday!” (which is every bit as bad as being doused by cold water while sleeping). So you see they didn’t really forget, but I still felt a little neglected the night before. Imagine how one must feel if his birthday comes as an afterthought to holiday resolutions of completing the midnight masses.

Of course, I submit we yuletide babies don’t have the monopoly of this predicament. I’m sure those born on New Year’s Day, Independence Day, or Valentine’s have felt the same way at one time or another. It embarrasses me to admit I’ve bouts of egotism, but we’re all entitled to it. That’s why I always make it a point to greet people on their birthdays, even belatedly.

Everyday is a celebration. Someone is bound to lay claim over even the most inconsequential day of the year. That has yet to account for the different kinds of anniversaries and ceremonial “firsts” of our lives. Now, I make it a habit to note down every event. You’ll never know when you would need to be reminded of occasions that at particular moments seem trivial, only to realize months after that around it revolved a significant occasion for someone.

In aid of that new resolution, I blew thousands of bucks on those damn iced crème brulee lattes and successfully completed that Starbucks Coffee 2006 planner stamp card. I collected my reward last week (no sweat broken since I have a daily fix of it anyway). I’ve yet to fill the planner up, but having the notebook makes me glad it’s going to be easier remembering everyone’s birthday, as I hope people would remember mine.