In four days I turn 40, in case you’ve missed the 57,686 I’ve mentioned it over the past few months. For four decades I will have been on this earth, and for half of that I’ve been either pregnant or raising kids. I’ve married and managed to stay married. Moved house countless times. Worked my butt off in possibly the lowest paid career in history. (Travel FYI) I’ve had some amazing times. But there’s one thing I’ve never had. Well there’s probably plenty, but this is the main one.
And that’s had a birthday party. New Year’s Eve is the worst day in the world to be born on, trumped only by Christmas Day. There are 363 other days of the year my mum could have given birth and I’d have been relatively happy with all of them. But at around 1am New Year’s Eve morning 1975 I arrived, trying unsuccessfully to kill her in the process.
I don’t recall any parties as a kid. Everyone was away with their families so I didn’t get them. You can’t have a party with no guests. I do have fond memories of being dragged to New Year’s Eve shindigs with my parents while they got sloshed and I sat in the corner singing “What About Me” while rocking back and forth.
I remember my 18th birthday. The whole three hours with my friends before I drank too much at home and got a migraine and my mum put me to bed. I woke up at 1230am New Year’s Day and ran to the local night club I’d been frequenting for two years already and finally entered legally. Screamed at everyone for not waking me up and partied like an animal.
I remember my 21st too – my parents convinced me that since I was a single mother to a young child a party was a waste of money and got me a TV and stereo instead. They’re long gone but the memory of not having a party isn’t.
Are you getting the feeling I am slightly messed up by being born on the last day of the year and my lack of parties? You’d be correct. I am. It’s even worse than suffering from the Middle Child Syndrome I’ve had all my life. The double whammy my mother inflicted on me.
Which is why when my husband suggested a few years ago we go to Fiji for my 40th I was all for it. When he then had the brainwave we’d take my sisters and their families AND pay I was even more excited. Those two couldn’t tell me they were away or had other plans if I had them fly four hours across the ocean. They’d be stuck having to spend it with me. And who’d say no to an all expenses paid trip to Fiji? No one is who. They’ll be there for my Birthday Eve. And my Birthday Boxing Day. And 5 more days just so they remember who this trip is about.
My sly birthday scheme worked, because on Monday morning at 830am 12 of my favourites will board a flight for F.1.J.1 and spend 8 days together. It will be all about me. I’m buying pink party hats, whistles and streamers. I’m going to ask everyone on New Years Eve “What day is it?” And they’ll all be prewarned to answer “It’s your birthday.” I’m going to buy the most expensive bottle of wine Fiji has to offer and even if I don’t drink it all its just going to sit there and I’ll stare at it and not let my sisters touch it.
Because it will be my first party and I can do what I want to.
Happy “not New Year it’s my 40th!”