Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | December 5, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me! And You, And Everyone Else…

Happy Birthday to Me With Joni Mitchell Theme

I admit this readily — I unabashedly love my birthday. So, every December 6, I celebrate ME! I have always loved my birthday and once my daughters were born, I passed this legacy on to the next generation of mini-MEs. Why so brazen a birthday attitude, you ask? Here’s the thing. 364 days each year you are no one special. You may think you are hot stuff, but let’s face it, however great you are, there are dozens more a whole lot like you in a whole lot of ways. But, you get one day each year when you are special and you get to celebrate. You could choose any day to whoop it up but why not use the one that was chosen for you? Your birthday should be all about you. Hell, I even endorse a birthday month if you are so inclined.

I have birthday traditions that I’ve developed with ME in mind. Just before my big day I usually get my hair cut so that I’m sure to look my best on MY day. On my actual day, I run five miles just to make sure I still can. (Then I really have reason to celebrate. This year I’m 59 and you better believe that running five miles is something worth celebrating.) Once I have that out of the way, I spend the day doing lovely things for me, or lovely things I’m going to like doing. This year started off great because my sweet husband and daughters launched my celebration two days early, giving me a head start on being fabulously special. The presents were cool (a journal and jewelry made from recycled things) and the cupcakes made by Shira were adorable. (See photo) They have titles of Joni Mitchell songs on them which made them entertaining and meaningful as well as delicious. And, on my big day, I plan to walk on the beach in my favorite place on Earth, the Outer Banks of NC. What could be better than that?

Why am I telling you all of this? The point here is simple. Take your day and do the same. Treat your birthday as the first day of the next year of your life (because it is actually) and then begin anew to celebrate you and your life and make it into what you most want it to be. Encourage your kids to do the same. Make a big deal about who they are on their birthdays. Let them know that a birthday is a great time to take stock of yourself, enhance the things you like, and change what needs tweaking.

Some people eschew their birthday. They don’t want to get older or they’re not comfortable with people making a big fuss about them. I say Bah Humbug to birthday naysayers. First, getting older surely beats the alternative, and secondly, to paraphrase my mother, if you don’t make a big fuss over yourself on your birthday who will? Full disclosure — what she used to say was about elementary school class elections for president — “If you don’t vote for yourself (because one year I told her I didn’t, even though I wanted to win) who would?” The idea is the same, think highly enough of yourself to give yourself one great day dedicated to the wonderfulness of you. If you don’t why would anyone else?

And, also, eat some cake.

Happy Birthday to Me!



  1. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I knew there was a reason that I’ve felt this way about you for so many years and now I know. Aside from all the other reasons…………here is the main one.
    As my January 6 birthday approaches, I fall into a deep funk. I’m depressed, sad. pissed, annoyed, irritable and downright impossible to live with. In fact, my daughters have memories of this inability for me to cope in late December and January. That’s a hell of a thing for MY daughters to remember, isn’t it?
    And my husband gets ready as mid- December approaches. It’s never been about getting older……Never could figure it out. It was just never done right. Of course, I never planned anything fun for myself, just expected that others would do it for me and, duh….it just never felt right.
    Of course, January has other memories as well…….get ready. My Mother had a stroke in January and lay in a coma for 9 days until she died on January 20, 1978. My Father had an aneurism (sp) in his stomach and it burst before surgery and he died on Februarry 6, 1983. My lovely cousin Rhea had leukemia and she lived for 6 months after diagnosis and died on January 14, 2003.
    My best friend Lorraine with whom I travelled the highways and byways since we were 11 years old went into the hospital with a virus and died 4 days later on February 6, 1996.
    So by now, you’re pleading with me to go away or perhaps die and I know just how you feel.
    I feel like I’ve brought these catastrophic events on myself so I could, for some reason, wallow in my disgusting misfortunes. Not that I caused them all to die…….but that I allowed them all to die in either January or early February.
    And they all fall around my birthday.
    I’ve joked that I would change my birthday to June 6……that’s only 6 months later…so it could be a 1/2 birthday.

    But reading your column today, I laughed out loud and remembered why I love you. I LOVE celebrating birthdays……….just not my own. I celebrate my daughter’s and my son’s birthdays and my husband’s birthday. I’ve created numerous surprise parties for Larry over the years and loved, loved doing it.

    Thanks, Deb.
    So that being said, I’d like to suggest that the former and current Houston teachers and siblings meet on January 6, somewhere in Philly to celebrate MY birthday. Who better to celebrate with?
    Happy 59th Birthday, Debby. Seems to me that you’re still 35.
    Love to your beautiful daughters and your guy as well.

  2. Well, happy birthday to you! My husband also loves to celebrate his birthday. At midnight on his birthday (he has set his alarm to wake up) he starts jumping on the bed and singing, “happy birthday to meeeee”, then he starts begging to open presents. He also does this on Christmas but his birthday is on Dec. 14th so he considers Advent the awaiting of his birth as well as, HIS birth, if you know what I mean. He manages to make his birthday last for the whole month. Our kids just think that’s how its done. How old is this man you ask? On Dec. 14th he’ll be 56 years young.

    • Your 56-year-old man sounds like a keeper. I love the thought of him jumping on the bed. Now that’s the way to start a birthday!

  3. Happy Birthday Deb! My 49th is on the 19th and I too like to celebrate but never had the reinforcement that my day was any different. I may be that I share it with my twin brother. But I absolutely agree about getting older. I don’t hide my age (although I feel it necessary to color my hair). I’m proud of each and every year and my experiences have made me who I am. So bring them on…I plan to be celebrating for a great many more! Hope you will be too!!!

  4. Happy Birthday! Happy Holidays!

  5. First of all, Happyyyyyyy Birthdayyyy! I love my birthday too. Last year, we rented a hall and had a rock n’ roll party. This year topped them all. I took 4 grandchildren, a daughter, a son-in-law, and my husband and about 40,000 other people to the Baylor football stadium for a huge party. (Actually, all those people were there to watch the Baylor/TCU game, but it FELT like a huge party for meeee!)
    I keep my cards on display for way too long and I try to let the subject of my birthday slip into everyday conversations, like with the cashier at Target!
    And you are right, having a birthday is WAY better than the alternative!
    Happy Holidays!

    • Best. Birthday. Party. Ever! Well, biggest anyway at 40,000 + people. Seriously, way to go, Carol. Sounds like a hoot!

  6. Happy Birthday Debbi! So glad you are taking the time to do seomthing you enjoy and celebrate YOU!!!! That is the most important thing…we cannot be good mothers, friends, or partners if we do not take care of ourselves FIRST!!!! That’s what I tell my 9 year old daughter when she complains that I have been going out too much with my friends…that I need time to help me be a better mom for her! Enjoy your new year of life!

  7. Your daughter is learning from a “Master” Mother. She should count her blessings and lovingly wave goodbye on your nights out with friends, knowing that when she’s a mom the same waits for her, thanks to you! You are totally right about Mom needing to take care of herself in order to be any good for anyone else.

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