I don’t really think of myself as a creature of habit. I’ve never been a big fan of a schedule. But, I do appreciate traditions. Once you do something several years in a row, it becomes a bit of a tradition – and I like that.
For the first 32 years of my life, I shared this special day (my birthday) with my Pap. We would often have a cake that said “Happy Birthday Heidi & Pap”. He passed away on March 10th, 2003 – just 10 days before our birthday. I told my mom I never wanted another birthday cake again. It’s just doesn’t feel right somehow.
I spent at least 15 of my adult birthdays with my best friend Sue. As young married couples with not a lot of money to spare, our first few birthday celebrations were spent enjoying $1 Roast Beef sandwiches at Hardee’s, followed by Free Italian Ice at Rita’s (a perk of having your birthday on the first day of spring!) We even learned how to “work the system” – we’d go through the drive-through for our first free ice, eat it, switch drivers, and go back for another one!
One year, in particular, I remember sitting in traffic on our way to my birthday celebration in Harrisburg. We thought we’d never get there. Then, when we finally did, we went through the drive-through for our roast beef sandwiches, and were heading to shop. My sandwich dropped on the floor of the car! I burst into singing “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to!” – and Sue, being the good friend that she was, sang right along. I think we both laughed through tears that day.
In later years, we graduated to some better eating establishments, such as Texas Roadhouse (where she would have NEVER let them put that huge hat on me!) and T.G.I. Friday’s (where they made me stand up on my chair while they announced my birthday to the whole restaurant – and I promised to get her back on her birthday!)
Sue left just 15 days before my 40th birthday – so I’ve spent the last 3 birthdays without her too. Birthdays just really aren’t the same anymore.
While it seems rather fitting that I woke up to rain this morning, I am glad that today is the first day of spring. I love spring and the promise of new life. In fact, the lilac bush that’s planted outside my living room window in memory of Sue has tons of buds on it. I wonder if it will bloom this year?
No birthday cake or roast beef for me today. But my mom is making me supper – and she’s taking me out on Friday for a nice breakfast and shopping at the Outlets. Sometimes we have no choice but to change our traditions. And that’s ok.
Do you have any special birthday traditions?