How many people remember your birthday each year? And I mean actually remember it, not Facebook-sent-me-an-alert remember it? For me, I think it's a solid 8.5.
My Mum, of course, who will then remind my step-dad (he's the .5). My Dad, for sure. He was a day late in ringing me one year, and felt awful about it, poor guy (it didn't bother me, but it did bother him). My sister, my husband, two friends who have known me for many, many birthdays, and one friend who's relatively new to the scene (you know who you are). Oh, and my husband's ex-wife (and by default, the stepsons, which kind of makes it 10.5 doesn't it?). She's pretty awesome like that, thoughtful.
As the date gets closer, my Mum or my sister (or both) will inevitably send me an email asking what I want for my birthday. And inevitably I'll reply saying I'm not sure. And then I'll give them a list that will include at least one book, one magazine subscription and something a little pampery.
I'm a big fan of asking people what they want; I prefer giving things that are going to be of some use. I get a bit antsy when they give me the 'I don't know', or 'nothing in particular', or 'anything you get will be great' reply to my list request. But then I'm not very good at coming up with lists for myself. Sorry.
I'm also not very good at celebrating my birthday, even though I adore celebrating other people's big days. It's partly being an introvert, I don't like being the centre of attention all that much. And partly being a little neurotic, wanting to please everyone even though everyone says "it's your birthday, do what you want". Plus the last six years or so the husband has been away for pretty much every birthday, and I've been in a city far from home. So I've tended to keep things pretty quiet on the actual day, with a sleep in and maybe a cupcake and a glass of bubbles.
It's actually been pretty great, because it's meant my birthday celebrations can last for weeks. A dinner when the husband is back in town, a lunch or two when I'm back in Melbourne, maybe a breakfast in Sydney. One year I think I even treated myself to a few days in Hong Kong. Decadent. So yeah, I do like to drag out a birthday, just a little.
I'm thinking about all this because it's my birthday next Friday. It's the one before a biggish one; one of the ones that make you stop and think - that number can't possibly be right, can it?
My husband is going to be in town, and the step-sons are coming over. And even my Mum is flying up for the night. I'm doing a cheeky lunch with the husband on the day, at our favourite fancy restaurant (which also just happens to be a three minute walk from our front door). Then we're going to slow roast a lamb, in our ace kitchen in our ace house, and we'll have a celebratory Middle Eastern inspired feast.
I'm quietly looking forward to my birthday this year; to celebrating with those 10.5 people. Because - for the first time in years and years - I'm feeling settled. It's not just being back in Australia, it's not just the house. It's my sense of family, my place in the world, that feels a bit more settled too.
There's lots of people in the world who I adore and admire and appreciate, but in the end it's those 10.5 that mean the so much to me, in different ways and for different reasons. And I think, I hope, I mean something to them too.
The My... posts are a way to get me writing more throughout 2015. There'll be one a month, each with a different My... prompt. You can play along as well, whenever and wherever you want. This month's prompt (January) is My Birthday. Next month's prompt (February) is My Pets. Interpret each prompt however you like - a story or a jumble of thoughts, fact or fiction, personal or not. Don't feel too constrained by the months either, if you like a prompt then have a go. And make sure to let me know if you do join in!