Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Half-Birthdays

When I was a child, my parents invented, or at least celebrated, half-birthdays.  It's a fairly simple premise; on the one chid's birthday, the other child gets a little half-birthday present.   My brother was 18 months older than me, so when he turned 7, I turned 5 1/2, etc. We were close enough in age to be horribly competitive, jealous little monsters, and the half-birthday kept us from killing each other.

My ex-husband was against half-birthdays.  He felt it was better for children to have the experience that when it is not your birthday you get nothing other than the joy of watching your sibling glom all the attention, that it would make them better people and learn to be giving.  Like many things, I agreed with him up front but was secretly not as convinced as I wanted to be.  

You see, my family was weird.  I don't mean a little bit different, but straight up strange.  My father lived in Alaska, a place so far off, many of my friends thought I made him up.  My mom was not only gay, but worked full-time and didn't shave her legs* or wear makeup. We went on protest marches, wore Greenpeace t-shirts, and had "This Yard is Pesticide Free, Safe for Animals and Children" signs on our front lawn.  No one was going to mistake us for the average Joe-sephines.  All I wanted was a nice, normal, traditional life - to be just like everyone else.  I married the man that I did because I was striving militantly towards normality like Sherman's march to the sea.  If he said half-birthdays weren't normal, I would take his word for it, though my inner child might have had a little cry, and my parents were horribly disappointed.

It turned out to be mote, as we broke up before the second child was of half-birthday age.  My mother tentatively asked if I would revive half-birthdays, and when I said, "Oh, hells ya," she rejoiced. I was reveling in all the special things that made me different, made me beautiful and rare. 

Fast-forward to now. Tiny Pants is celebrating his birthday on Wednesday, which is Big Pants' fifth half-birthday observance.  My father sent Tiny a present, but forgot a half-birthday gift for the big one.  No worries, I picked one up.  My moms sent Tiny a box…and nothing for the big one, so once again I will go to the store and preserve this tradition.  All of a sudden normal seems like a lot less work.


* I checked with my mom if this was offensive before I published, and she corrected me to say she did shave her legs, just not as often!


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