Honestly, I don't think I hate my birthday. I just think I'm incredibly ambivalent about it. It's hard to explain, I guess. Who doesn't like cake, and ice cream, and presents, and being the center of attention?
Well, this adoptee, for one.
I don't know when I realized it, but at some point, probably in my teen years, I realized that everyone who wanted to celebrate my birthday had missed it. They weren't there for my actual birth. And I don't know why that bothered me, but it did. And I didn't want people making a big deal about the day because it just reminded me that I didn't know ANYONE who had been there for my birth. Except for myself, of course.
I went through different phases about this, but sometime in my mid-20s, I think I began to mellow a bit. I still didn't much care for the day, but I wouldn't hide from people who wanted to celebrate it with me. (I did do that for awhile earlier in my life.)
And when I met the woman who I would marry, she seemed to take so much joy in celebrating the day, that I couldn't resist going along with her, even while the ambivalence remained.
Now I'm in reunion. And last year, I actually got to spend my birthday with my first mom. And I was thrilled. This year, she couldn't make it. I completely understand. I didn't expect her to make it. But the ambivalence came back, a little stronger than last year. I still enjoyed dinner with my wife. And I appreciated all the well-wishes from family and friends. And I do like presents, even if I suck at accepting them.
And I know that the day won't kill me. That it's not even a horrible thing. But there is still that old habit of feeling melancholy about the day. I still feel as though, for too many years, I missed out on something. I try not to dwell on these things too much, but today, of all days, it gets harder to ignore it.
Still, as much as I still have my issues with my birthday, I'm glad I get to talk to my mom when it comes around, even if only on the phone. I don't think that will ever get old.