I used to think I was ambivalent but I am not.
Even as I type this, I am not sure what my opinion is about birthdays. I know what I don’t like about how people choose to celebrate theirs but I don’t know if I like birthdays or not.
When I was a kid, the anniversary of the day I was born always fell during the long summer break so I never had my mates sing to me while standing in front of the class, ready to slice a birthday cake. It was celebrated very minimally in our house with my mum, dad and siblings singing to be in Daddy’s room. Then my parents would hand me a beautiful card (maybe with a gift), give us some biscuits and sweets and that was it! At least, for me – who couldn’t celebrate in school.
When I got to the University though, I was forced/convinced/obligated to entertain my hungry friends every birthday I had. I did not really mind that. It was quite fun, except for the dishes we had to attend to afterwards.
Then I got married and my in-laws love to celebrate each birthday with elaborate cooking, popping non-alcoholic wine and uploading pictures on Facebook. I really did not mind that (except for the music).
Now, with kids on my tail and the hassle it takes to throw a party (plus my husband doesn’t seem much into celebrating), I honestly can’t be bothered about celebrating mine. Or it may just be what a friend of mine postulated: I am getting old!
That said, I really appreciate birthday calls, texts, cards and gifts because I honestly am surprised people remember at all. It really touches me that without me hinting on social media sites, my friends remember. I loathe reminding people of my birthday and would rather it passes quietly without a fuss.
Another thing is that, I feel obligated to get you something for your birthday (or your kid’s birthday) if I am aware and I can, particularly if we work together or we are friends.
I don’t think first birthday celebrations are even necessary because the child cannot remember it. It seems compulsory though because everyone will insist you do it since the kids will grow up to see the pictures, I guess.
It is tempting to think that it is because of Islam but I really don’t think am so convinced birthdays are bad islamically.
Please be my shrink and share your thoughts.