Mary Dell writes: “Golden Birthday” was an unfamiliar term until our daughter recently clued me in, “Mom, that’s the birthday when your age is the same as the date on the calendar. So, when I turn 17 on November 17th, it will be my golden birthday.” Not sure where I will get my information after she goes to college, leaving me in my empty nest!
In anticipation of her upcoming GBD, I began thinking about birthdays past. When my sister and I were little, our parents hosted traditional, circa early-1960s, parties at home with our school friends and neighborhood kids, cake and ice cream. During my teenage years, my girlfriends all held slumber parties to celebrate our big days. Though it meant we could be served alcohol legally, I don’t recall any special drink-fest marking our 18th birthdays. Neither do I think 21 was any different from 20 or 22.
But as my 25th year drew to a close, I was in school far from my Texas family, feeling homesick and stressed-out from classwork. On October 26th, my GBD, a gorgeous bouquet of 26 yellow roses arrived at my dorm room. Neither my dad nor I knew it was a “golden” day for me; he simply wanted to me to know he was thinking of his daughter and sending love, long-distance. This was a birthday I never forgot.
By 30, I had graduated and moved into Manhattan. A group of friends threw a party, making me feel like I had dropped onto a Woody Allen movie set, in a good way. Five years later I married and moved to the suburbs. So long, Woody!
At 39, I was pregnant with our second child and began to plan my 40th birthday “bash,” dinner out with my husband and our five-year old son. I remember what I was wearing – a pink maternity dress – and recall how the three of us celebrated. My husband had a glass (or two) of red wine and our son and I, ice cream.
Our daughter was born three weeks later and remains my very favorite birthday gift. The yellow roses come in second.
So, in three weeks, our now nearly grown and flown daughter will receive roses from her father. While I’m not sure what color he will pick, we all know how many he will send.