My Two Birthdays
“Fly free and happy beyond birthdays and across forever, and we’ll meet now and then when we wish, in the midst of the one celebration that never can end.” ~ Richard Bach
I have two birthdays. No, I wasn’t born at midnight. I was born on my sisters first birthday, so I thought — December 16, 1962. Every year I would share my birthday, birthday cake, and birthday presents with my sister. And for the first fifteen years of my life, that was my day — well, our day. Then on December 15th when I turned 15, my dad called to wish me “Happy Birthday.” He told me that my birthday was really the 15th and my mom wanted it on the 16th because it was “cute.” Hmmm… I asked my mom and she continued to profess the 16th. And, so began the two-birthday conundrum.
In my early twenties, I needed a passport so I got my birth certificate. It said, “December 16, 1962.” So there — it was settled. I was born on December 16th. For the next several years I celebrated the 16th and my dad continued to call me on the 15th. Then one day in my early 30’s, my mom gave me the hospital certificate where they put your foot prints in ink. It was typed December 16, 1962, but the nurse signed it in green ink, December 15, 1962. At this point, I was really confused. I asked my mother again and she continued to profess the 16th.
Years went by and the two-birthday dance continued, until one day my mother called on December 15th. She wanted to bring over a birthday gift. I told her it wasn’t my birthday yet. She agreed on the phone and brought the gift to my house. She sat down and quickly said, “Okay, it’s time that I tell the truth. You really were born on the 15th, but the hospital messed up and put the 16th on your birth certificate, so we just kept it that way.”
So… yeah. Two birthdays. One is my REAL BIRTH day, and the other is my LEGAL birthday. It’s been the 16th on every legal document since I was born. But the story doesn’t end there…
Several years later, my youngest sister called me and asked what my birth certificate said. When I told her, she said, “You aren’t going to believe this!” She got a copy of HER birth certificate and it had the wrong day! She has celebrated January 9th all of her life and her birth certificate said January 8th! True story.
So, what are the lessons to be found? Well, after years of having everyone “forget” a too-close-to-Christmas birthday, getting combined birthday/Christmas gifts at Christmas, sharing the day with my sister, and years of disillusion and confusion about the date, I decided to claim both days and CELEBRATE LIFE! I discovered that I could feel bad about my “lack” of birthday, or I could feel joy and great abundance by making the best out of a goofy situation! I choose to celebrate life and all the bountiful blessings in the chaos. And, I choose to celebrate me and birth a new sense of self-love. Every year since I found out the truth, I have my own little private birthday celebration that lasts for 48 hours! I gave birth to a new sense of self and learned how to love, honor, and cherish me (and all my imperfections) more completely.