When I was young I used to throw tantrums on my birthday.
I hated that I was born in August (this is before I discovered horoscopes) – it meant that all my friends were traveling and I was “stuck” with my family on my birthday. Not cool. No matter what my family did that day (and oh they did a lot), it just wasn’t good enough. All I wanted was a normal birthday party during the school year. When everybody was around. Where I’d be the center of attention for a few days before the party and definitely that night.
Was that too much to ask for?!
My mom tried to make it up for me, arranging small parties in school in September or October or letting me invite a few friends over as I got older for a movie, dinner, ice cream. But it just wasn’t the same. It felt fake and I was pretty bitter about it.
It was in my late teens that I had a revelation. The lightbulb over my head flickered and lit! It was bright! I sheepishly realized how silly I had been. From that day on, I didn’t care very much about my own birthday. Heck, I was getting older. It’s all downhill from here! Why would I celebrate that? I panicked because each birthday put an end to what just felt like the most amazing year in my life. From then on, the less fuss people made on my birthday, the better.
My family has been really good about that, too. They caught on pretty fast, probably relieved that I wasn’t going to spend a day crying and moping about how nobody really loves me. So over the past few years, I’ve had very quiet birthdays with my family and close friends. My mom likes to leave me very emotional, poetic cards where she pours her heart out and manages to give me pearls of wisdom and a few commandments. Her words often make me tear up; I have to remind her that our life is not a soap opera and she needs to cut down on the drama.
I turned twenty five a couple of days ago and I had another quiet birthday. My birthday this year was during Ramadan and I was fasting all day. I broke my fast only to find my cousins had sent me a giant birthday (cup)cake! I’m guessing it’s supposed to encourage my new found hobby: baking.
This year had its ups and downs for me. I started a new job, met some amazing people but also lost a loved family member and definitely had my share of hardships, tears and grief. It may sound corny, but baking really helped me cope with it all. I guess it’s the sense of control I feel in the kitchen that makes baking therapeutic. No matter how crazy my life is, I know that banana bread will not let me down. Regardless of what’s going to happen tomorrow, I could find another complicate recipe and conquer it. I don’t know how many bags flour, sugar and eggs got me through the past year…
So, back to my twenty fifth! In addition to the birthday cake and presents from my family, my friends took my out to dessert. And by dessert I mean we spent two hours indulging our sweet-tooths with fondue pops, a nutella souffle, an apple tart with ice cream and a layered cup of sugary goodness called Cocoa Room Monday.
The highlight of the evening, however, was not the dessert. It was the amazing birthday present that my friends gave me. Note how everyone’s sticking to this baking theme!
I am now the proud owner of a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer. And it’s a great color, too. Very vintage. I’m now looking forward to another year of baked treats and kitchen adventures. This year, the baking will be less about stress relief and more about celebrations and creating warm memories.