Thirty-four years ago on this date (January 28) my pregnant mom was stepping over a hedge in my Godparents front yard and her water broke. Many, many hours later, I was born at Little Company of Mary Hospital.

My dad said when he first saw me, he felt sorry for me because I looked just like him, in fact, I looked so much like him that until the lower half of me was born, he thought I was a boy. He loves to tell that story and it sort of answers the question of why there aren’t too many first-born pictures of me. Thankfully, by the time I was about six months old I started to look more like a baby girl and less like a 35-year-old-man-baby.

My mother likes to tease me that I make too big a deal out of my birthday. But like most people who partake in self-indulgent behavior, I blame my parents. From my first birthday and on, I was brought up that it is customary to be the center of attention on your birthday and the week surrounding it. From the time I could remember I have had some pretty fantastic birthday parties; everything from a whale watching trip to merry-go-rounds and puppet shows set up in my backyard.

As an adult I have carried on the tradition and I have taught others to do the same. If you are one of my best friends or have ever dated me or are related to me, you have had a surprise birthday party and I have probably planned it.

And why shouldn’t we make a big deal about the day we were born? Why shouldn’t we celebrate one more year of life? I mean its kind of insulting to our parents and God for that matter, if we don’t celebrate, right?

Now, for anyone who knows me they know there are a couple of things I require for a good birthday party; a cake with candles and lots of people singing and birthday cards with meaningful messages about how great you think I am.

One year, the guy I was dating forgot to pick up my birthday cake and bring it to the restaurant.

Big mistake.

I tried for a total of 2 minutes to act like I didn’t care and then feces hit the fan at a rapid speed. The greatest thing about me acting like a 3-year-old who just had her teddy bear taken away, was that my friend caught it all on videotape. Here I was an adult woman in the bathroom of a restaurant crying over cake. I’ll admit It wasn’t the highest point in my life but although I was super duper embarrassed about my crazy-girl melt down, I apparently got my message across, because I have had some great tasting birthday cakes since then.

Honestly, the reason why I love my birthday so much isn’t really about the cakes and cards, it’s a day where I am reminded of how blessed I am. I have a lot of people who I have the privilege to love and who love me right back and on my birthday that’s what I am celebrating. Out of everything in my life, It’s those relationships, which I am most proud of, its those people, who have helped shaped who I am and who allow me to look forward to another year of life.

So, happy birthday to me and thanks to my mother for stepping over that hedge (that’s how babies are made, right?) thanks to my Godparents for making dinner that night, thanks to my dad, because without him I wouldn’t have had such strong manly features as a baby and thanks to all my friends for reminding me that its not about the cake or the cards, its about the people who are standing next to you in the bathroom, drying your tears and making you laugh at yourself for acting like an overgrown toddler, while at the same time instructing someone else to go buy this girl a cake, and make sure its chocolate and whatever you do, don’t forget the candles.