Happy Birthday?

I've always felt that birthdays are important.  It's a day to celebrate YOU.  It's a day where YOU should be the focus.  It should be a happy day.  It should be a joyful day.  However, it isn't always.

I've had "bad" birthdays throughout the years.  How could I have not?  How could anyone have not?  Life happens and sometimes stomps on your day.  (Even though I think it shouldn't).  There was the year I had chicken pox.  The year my brother died 5 days before my birthday.  And last year my mom was in the hospital and moved to ICU on my birthday.

I'm not going to say that yesterday was a "bad" birthday.  What I am going to say is was that it didn't feel like a birthday; it was just a day.  

It was a difficult day.  For as long as I can remember, my dad sends me a card on my birthday.  For most of my life he send me "real" cards.  (You know the kind that comes in the mail.)  More recently he's been sending e cards (which I am not a fan of).  This year he was unable to do either.  I didn't speak to him nor did I get an update from his caregiver, so it was weird in the respect that this was the first year (in my 57 years) that I did not speak to a parent for my birthday. (They even called me when I was in England for my birthday one year...and that was when overseas phone calls cost a mint!)

I tried to order a birthday cake from my favorite vegan bakery, but I think I did so too late.  I never got a response to my email inquiry.  So I ended up going to Whole Foods to get a cake from Abe's Muffins.  Unfortunately, they were out of chocolate, so I ended up with vanilla. (Maybe I should explored carrot?  I didn't think the carrot cake looked "birthday" enough.)

What also made the day difficult (and not just for me) was the air.  There are serious wildfires up in Canada; so serious that the air as far south as the Carolinas (maybe now further) has been effected.  The air took on a yellow-orange-gray-brown quality.  Sadly, this is something that my friends in California and other areas of the country are all too used to seeing.  But here in the NY tristate area, this is unexpected.  (If we can take away anything from the past couple of years it should be that we should expect the unexpected and somehow try to be prepared for things that we can't even imagine.)  To quote an AccuWeather report: “Worst air quality in 20 years grips New York City, creates apocalyptic-looking skyline. The famous New York City skyline disappeared on Wednesday afternoon as smoke from the Canadian wildfires continued to flow into the region. In the most impacted areas, breathing smoke-filled air is equivalent to smoking 5-10 cigarettes."  

We ended the day sitting in the high school auditorium for the 2+ hour senior awards ceremony.  Now, please don't get me wrong.  My son's graduating class is relatively small (around 150) and I've known many of these kids since kindergarten.  I've seen them grow and are proud of their accomplishments.  They deserve to be celebrated.  And I am THRILLED that my son was awarded two scholarships.  However, with that said, sitting in the auditorium listening to the history of each scholarship and the complete resume of each student winning the award was excruciating.  (And not just to me...and not just to the parents...the students were just as bored and anxious to get the whole thing over with.)  If this is to celebrate the students, it missed the mark.  We were so worn that I didn't even take any pictures during or AFTER the event.  (This must have shocked my son.)  All I wanted to do was go home and go to bed.

Which is what I eventually was able to do, after cutting up some cake (no candles or singing this year) and taking care of a few little chores that always pop up when you least expect them.  (Of course I woke up this morning at 3:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, even though I AM tired...who isn't these days?  Furthermore, I haven't been able to go out and do my daily walk due to the air quality so...)

It wasn't a bad day.  It just wasn't a birthday?  Even with all the social media messages that popped up, I just wasn't feeling it.  (To those of you who sent them, I DO appreciate them, but I just couldn't get into it.)  Maybe next year?  It’s only 364 days away.


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