So, as all of my Facebook friends keep reminding, I have another birthday just around the corner. Actually, I think FB announced it early. Either that, or one of my relatives, knowing that she would be off-line during that time, wished me a happy birthday a few days earlier.
Now my other FB friends saw her post and thought that they missed my birthday. As a result they have begun posting birthday greetings after hers, just in case. It’s actually kind of funny. I would never be so rude as to say “sorry my birthday hasn’t actually arrived yet, but thank you anyway”…unless of course you call a blogpost mocking them rude. But still, I think I’ll wait until the oh so joyous event passes before thanking everyone.
The advent of my birthday is joyous, don’t get me wrong. I love my birthday. I love birthday greetings, birthday presents and I don’t even mind getting older. I look at it this way…another year older is another year still alive. So, I’ll take every birthday sent my way.
Celebrating my birthday, however, reminds me that there is another event looming just on the horizon that I dread.
OK, for clarity, let me explain something. Me and my siblings have our birthdays immediately before or immediately after a holiday. My brother has Christmas, my middle sister has St. Patrick’s day and my youngest sister has New Year’s. They get cool and fun holidays.
Do I get to celebrate my birthday drinking green beer having everyone kiss me wishing they too were Irish? Do I get to have my birthday close to a beloved religious celebration, exchanging gifts…or even celebrating the end of the old year and ringing in the new?
Nope. Not me. I get to celebrate my high holy day with a small, furry, burrowing rodent. And no, I do not mean the cute, fuzzy, bunny delivering eggs and disgusting marshamallow chicks to anxious children everywhere.
I get the Groundhog. And my family delights in reminding me of this. Every. Single. Year.
It started as a joke. My brother, while highly intelligent, is not always the most aware person in the room. He used to forget my birthday every year. Only after he was reminded by a family member, did he call me the day AFTER my birthday and wish me a Happy Groundhog’s Day. He wouldn’t even mention my birthday unless I did. Then he feigned surprise that I had a birthday.
Yeah, I know…he’s funny.
Now, everyone in my family just simply wishes me a Happy Groundhog’s Day. They all think it’s hilarious. Sometimes I do not even get a “Happy.” One of them simply emails me a picture of a groundhog on my birthday as if that will suffice. Or I’ll get a Groundhog’s Day card in the mail. Or…my favorite…I’ll go to one of their houses for cake and ice cream and be forced to watch the Bill Murray movie playing on what seems like an endless loop in the background. Over and over and over.
As an aside, I do think Groundhog’s Day is one of the biggest jokes ever perpetuated on the population. Every year at the start of February, news cameras flock to Puxatawney, PA to await Phil’s fated words as school children everywhere (praying for one final snow day) anxiously wait to see if the groundhog will see his shadow and thus predict an early spring or another six weeks of winter.
Here’s the joke. Spring’s official start date, also known as the vernal equinox, is March 20…or almost exactly six weeks from February 2 whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not. Spring will never arrive any earlier than six weeks from February 2. Ever.
This is the holiday I get. A practical joke played on school children in an attempt to convince them that a small rodent can alter the space-time continuum to give them more time off from school in the form of additional snow days.
Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
So, thank you to everyone who has wished me an early happy birthday and thank you to everyone who will wish me a happy birthday tomorrow. For the rest of you, better bundle up. I think I just saw my shadow.