“Here’s your Chanukah gift AND your Birthday gift — a special COMBO — you know it’s the holidays and so with your birthday falling so close to the holidays – well – you know, here you go!”
That was the yearly refrain I heard every December 19th on my birthday being one of 4 girls and holidays were overwhelming for my parents what with all the presents to get for the sisters. Frankly, I was too young to be empathetic but I had no choice. You would think I would have gotten used to it.
But when I got to be the Mom things got better, I got to choose how I wanted to celebrate my birthday. So, every Christmas vacation included birthday cake Menorahs and Christmas Carols and holiday presents but the boys knew, because their Dad made sure they knew that Mom’s birthday was a separate celebration. I had a good run for 20 years.
Like all things in life, patience and acceptance are the key to happiness. The kids grew up, we all moved around, it was harder to get together but everyone managed to show up for the holidays for awhile. And then the family grew which was the greatest gift of all. My kids married great partners who had their own family holiday traditions and so began the next shift in how holidays are celebrated. We had a few holidays together with the whole gang but this year will not be with my boys, but the good news is we get my step kids and grandkids who are going to learn to ski with us so that’s really exciting.
The other week a few friends who have to share our birthdays with the holidays decided to get together to celebrate each other.
We hatched a plan to celebrate our December/early January birthdays because we could. But of course like all good plans this month we almost couldn’t. Our get together was almost cancelled 3 times. Colds and Covid testing, coughs and migraines. We agreed to make a game time decision the morning of our dinner to be sure we were all healthy enough.
The texting was kind of hilarious and very 60’s.
“Hey, I look like shit — I just had some skin surgery but I’m fine — please don’t look at me too closely when we get together.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t be sitting and staring at you, I will be pacing, my hip is killing me and I can’t sit for long.”
“Should I wear a mask? I was babysitting the grand kids and I have been sick for 4 days, I will let you know if I’m ok to go in the morning.”
“I just got exposed to Covid — let me test.”
And then miraculously it was a Go.
“Let’s not eat out – I look like shit.”
“Everyone text your orders – I will pick it up.”
We showed up at our friend’s house to celebrate each other and frankly showing up was the best gift ever. But we brought gifts anyway. We each walked in with 3 wrapped gifts — There were 9 pretty presents on the table. Nine!!!!! not Twelve!!!!. Apparently, one of us kinda didn’t get the memo – not that there was a memo – she just didn’t quite zero in on the gift thing.
“Wait, you guys all bought presents? I didn’t even think about presents — oh No!” She looked totally stunned.
And that’s when the fun really started.
‘You didn’t get us a present – really?
And her face dropped – she squirmed and we burst out laughing. I mean we almost wet our pants laughing,
“Go ahead open your gifts — just because you didn’t get us one – we are mature we can handle it.”
“I can’t handle it – what the hell, I can’t believe I didn’t even think of it! WTF. What’s the matter with me?”
We couldn’t stop laughing.
“Yeah, well it’s the holidays you were busy – we know the drill – we all get busy”
“How the hell did I not think to bring gifts?”
We got such a kick out of this whole scene we were sure this would make an awesome SNL skit with a great moral. The forgetful perhaps tad delinquent friend who didn’t bring the gift ultimately brought us all the best gift ever — an evening of non stop pee in your pants laughter.