Thanksgiving is typically a holiday of enjoyment for all those who participate. It's a day filled with fun, food, and football — the three Fs many Americans would consider part of their core identity. For those of you who love this day for all that it's worth, I congratulate you. I, however, have a love/hate relationship with this day that dates back to my infancy.
I was born on Thanksgiving, arriving on this planet about the same time as my family's turkey. Thanksgiving represents so many good things in my life: another year of progress and health in my own life; a day of thankfulness, not just for the usual holiday reasons, but for the people who brought me into this world.
My mother likes to remind me of this regularly. "You know, this day serves as a double meaning for you and me," she says with a grin. "A celebration of the day you were born, your birthday, and the day you should be thankful that I brought you into this world, Thanksgiving." This conversation always leads to my comment, "I thought that was what Mother's Day was for." Apparently, in my family, Mom gets two days, and the daughters get 0.5.
Thanksgiving does hold a special meaning for me. I love the traditions. Nothing is better than walking into my grandmother's house that morning. It is a unique feeling, I don't know exactly what entices the emotions or good spirits, but everyone always walks in with a smile. Something about the spread of food, the smell of pies baking in the oven, the sounds of my family laughing, and seeing everyone spend time together makes me very sentimental. I think everyone begins to retrace every year of their life on that day, remembering how you spent it exactly the same way.
The holiday is a wonderful event. I pity those who don't get to experience this great American tradition. No one would ever want to miss out on Thanksgiving. I understand this. I, too, would love to enjoy Thanksgiving with the rest of the country, but instead I have to cram two celebrations into one.
Everyone has complaints about their birthday. The kids in the winter always want an outdoor party. The kids in the summer always complain that no one shows up to their parties. Anyone born in the month of December never gets presents, and everyone else just likes to whine for no real reason at all. To all of you, except maybe the December kids, I say "Shut it!" Until your birthday is on a national holiday filled with history and food much more attractive than you are, you do not even begin to understand.
Year after year my birthday is an anomaly, a confusion as to what to do. No matter what the situation is, it always comes down to the same decision. Either throw a party two weeks ahead or behind the actual day, or a combination Thanksgiving/birthday fiasco. Trust me on this, little Thanksgiving babies, I am your pioneer. Never, ever, ever choose the combination party option. You will get ripped off, guaranteed.
The Thanksgiving/birthday combination always works out like this. First of all, forget actually having a party. All of your friends will be out of town, or spending time with their family. Your favorite places will be closed, which means that you celebrate Thanksgiving with a cake. No one ever remembers it's your birthday, and if you are lucky your best friend will remember to call you between bites.
Additionally, people don't want to spend their Thanksgiving at a birthday party. It isn't the kind of day that should be spent celebrating around one person.
I know, I know. This is selfish, it is a day of thanks. I should just be thankful that I get the food on my table and that I get to be with my wonderful family members. I have heard this all before, and I am well aware of how selfish this sounds. Everyone thinks that us holiday kids are ungrateful, until it happens to you or your kid.
I dare you to go tell little Timmy, whose birthday is in September, that on his birthday he gets a nice family dinner. He will get to eat his cake after the turkey, and all of his friends are out of town. We will see how thankful he is when Aunt Millie is pinching his cheeks and everyone else got a clown.
The alternative isn't too bad though. Celebrating your birthday whenever it is easiest is kind of fun too. You get to choose between a birthday when it is just warm enough to go outside or having a winter birthday. I don't think anyone else gets a choice of when to celebrate their special day. A lot of kids seem to celebrate it on the weekend of the birthday, and a few have to schedule their birthdays around paydays. Us holiday kids get to choose our own date, whenever it is easiest for our friends and us. Also, a lot of times this means that you get two parties.
Yes, one of them will be celebrated as the Thanksgiving/birthday fiasco, but that is bearable if you know that you will have the real celebration later. It is even possible to enjoy the holiday and to be thankful, knowing that fun is in the near future or past.
Although Thanksgiving birthdays can be rough to work with, they may be worth it. Most people have boring, generic stories of the day they were born. Not me. It's a Thanksgiving my family will never be able to forget.
Perhaps everyone may ruin my birthday every year with Thanksgiving. However, when I get too whiny I think of the day I was born. That one special year, my birthday completely overshadowed and epically destroyed, and by destroyed I mean blessed, my entire family's Thanksgiving.