I was due on Christmas day. But even in the womb I had a few clues. I knew the likelihood of birthday presents would be inversely proportional to the proximity of my birthday to Christmas Day. So my poor mother had to put up with me refusing to budge for almost two weeks.
I finally agreed to emerge on the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Epiphany. I looked epiphany up in the dictionary once. It read, “the manifestation of the superhuman.” I was most pleased. Jesus received gold, frankincense and myrrh on the Twelfth Day of Christmas so I assumed I’d do all right too.
What I didn’t realise was this: when I was young I’d hardly ever have a birthday party because it was always school holidays so all my friends were away, and when I was an adult most people would be elsewhere doing other things like camping, travelling and vacationing. So if your birthday is also around this time I sympathise fully.
Some years my birthday has drifted past with barely a wave of recognition as others enjoy their holidays and festive season. But other birthdays have been diamonds. A couple of years ago a new friend, having realised my plight, baked a cake, made a birthday banner and decorated her lounge room with streamers for a birthday party just for me. She and I were the only ones at that party but it didn’t matter. I felt so special.
Many years ago, when I was living in Sydney, the city put on an outdoor concert in the Domain on my birthday. I spent the day surrounded by music and music lovers with Paul Kelly (whose birthday was a week later) as the headliner. Bliss.
And this year I had a full day of glorious celebratory activities culminating in a beautiful birthday dinner hosted by a good and generous friend. I felt well and truly loved.
So although the gold, frankincense and myrrh might not be forthcoming every year (even Jesus only received those presents once) some of my birthdays have been pure gold and life has been a sweet smelling balm.