Another birthday is just another day #045; Or is it?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Today, it is official: I have now been legally driving for half my life.

Now that I am an adult, I am supposed to bemoan my birthday, not talk about how old I am (even though I eluded to it in the first paragraph) and complain about how awful it is that I am getting older. To me, though, Oct. 22 is just another day.

When I was a child, my birthday was second best to Christmas. Though it was not as elaborate, it was my special day. Now, I just try to play it off. Yes, I still get cards, a cake and gifts, but the anticipation is nowhere near where it used to be.

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I still remember my third birthday - perhaps the first I can recall. My parents bought me The Lone Ranger and Silver and a Lone Ranger costume. I can still see the pictures from that day - a little mop-headed boy with a cowboy hat and mask on, toy guns in my holster, wearing a jersey with the number "3" on it (another birthday gift).

I remember all of the gifts over the years - bicycles, G.I. Joes, Star Wars figures - the parties, the cakes. My parents always made birthdays special.

Things are different now. The cool toys I once got for my birthday have long been replaced by clothes for work, tools, etc. Fewer people come to my "party" and the cake is usually not as extravagant.

I do not look forward to my birthday anymore, and I try not to expect my wife and children to remember it, either. I do not drop hints the days before and I keep silent the day of my birthday.

I guess, in my mind, I am hoping that one day everyone else will forget it's my birthday and it will become, like I hope for, any other day. But is this my true feelings?

Although I may not like to admit it, I have come to expect special treatment on my birthday. I always get treated to a special dinner, never have to worry about doing work around the house, and have three wonderful children and a lovely wife reminding me that it is, in fact, my special day.

Later on today, my wife and children will attempt to surprise me with a card, cake and, perhaps, gifts. We will gather around the cake, light the candles and everyone will sing, "Happy Birthday" to me.

Like every year, I know a huge smile will come across my face as I watch my children and wife sing to me. Seeing the love in their eyes reminds me of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family.

When it comes to the accepted definition of a birthday, maybe mine is just another day.

In the grand scope of things, though, it is a very special day to me and, more important, my family.

Knowing that they think I am special and go the extra mile to show me that on my special day is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

Shawn Doyle is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached by calling (740) 532-1445 ext. 19 or by e-mail to