Today is my birthday. Therefore I had three pieces of French toast and plenty of time to reflect as I was unable to move.
I love reflecting on my birthday. Mostly I reflect on things I would like to have without getting up to get them. Sometimes I go so far as to ask Dan to look for things I don’t even want (“You saved Sunday’s paper, I hope” or “Do we have a staple gun? I think we do. Can you check?. . . . Why aren’t you checking? I need one.) until we typically end up in a huge fight during which he says something like, “Just because it’s your birthday, that doesn’t give you the right to sit around and ruin everyone else’s day?”
“Why not?”I ask, perplexed.
“Because it’s wrong. And I can’t take it anymore.”
“But it’s my birthday,” I explain.
“I know, believe me I know. Anyone would know. You’re making the face.”
“The ‘it’s my birthday warning’ face.”
“I would know if I was making a face.”
“You’re still making it.”
“Wow. I thought I was being so good. For example, I didn’t complain about any of the gifts you gave me, so far, not even the butternut squash puree.”
“You love butternut squash and you know it.”
“True, but had you read my birthday list you would have seen that soup wasn’t on it.”
“It’s not actually soup. It’s a puree and it was part of the whole food theme I was going for.”
“Puree wasn’t on my list.”
“What did you want exactly, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Just any watch or one in particular?”
“I wanted one like the one I already have. But a little less dressy. But then I thought, why would I let you spend all that money on me when people are starving all over the world ?”
“Exactly. That’s why I went with the butternut squash.”
“On the other hand. . .one little watch isn’t going to change the world one way or another.”
“So, you do want the watch?”
“I do, yes. But I can’t decide if I want white or yellow gold. I already have a white one and the gold doesn’t really look good on me, and I don’t want to change my rings. The gold rings make my hands look pale.”
“So you want the white one?”
“Not really, because it’s too much like the one I have. Besides, I suddenly don’t feel good about it again. I feel spoiled and gross.”
Many minutes pass. I’m not crying, but I could easily be persuaded to do so.
“Are you upset about something or trying not to look like you’re gloating that it’s your birthday?”
“I just can’t enjoy material things anymore. Maybe I’m finally growing up and becoming a better person, but my birthday just doesn’t feel the same. I used to wake up so thrilled and excited to celebrate the birth of myself, but now I just feel like everything is a gluttonous waste and I should be saving all of our money for college and charities and more meaningful things then me and my millionth birthday.”
“I’m so proud of you, Steph. You really are growing up. Are you sure that’s why you’re upset though?”
“That and I sort of want both watches.”