Twentysix and nineeleven


September 11th. A day most of us have devastating memories attached to, we all remember where we were on the 11th September 2001. I remember exactly where I was. Because it was my 11th birthday. I remember exactly what I was wearing (a grey, floor length gown with skinny straps if anybody’s interested – I dressed a tad more dramatically as an eleven year old).

I remember that my grandmother was at our house (probably because it was, like mentioned before, my birthday). And that my mum and her were watching the TV. It must have been a Tuesday because she didn’t work Tuesdays, and they were watching TV in the middle of the day. I came out of the bathroom in my gown (haha) because the gasps from the living room had me intrigued as to what was going on. I was expecting a lot of attention as I entered the living room, dressed like a 45 year old going to a wedding in June. But nothing. I got nothing. Apparently there was some kind of plane accident in America. How could that be more important than my 11th birthday!?

It would take me a few years to understand exactly how catastrophic these events were, how many people were affected, and that this was the first time a terror attack was broadcast live across the world as it was happening, and the impact it would have on the future for years to come. At the time I was eleven (going on 45), getting dressed to go to my joint party with a friend in my class whom I shared birthday with, desperate to be seen. Instead I was invisible compared to what was going on the television (understandably, I might add).

It’s funny with birthdays because in a way we revert to a sort of child-like state, where we want no responsibility, just to be treated like princes and princesses, and maybe to open some presents, and certainly all the attention. Or maybe that’s just me and my narcissism…?

So I have grown to not like my birthday very much. Everyone has an anecdote about 9/11, what a gruesome day it was (I know, it really was to many). And also, I know 4 people who are born on the same day as me, including my boss! My inner child comes out, tantrums and all. I don’t want to share! It’s mine! Mine! All mine!

Sunday morning, I wake up in a terrible mood, even though I had changed the bed linen the night before so I had the luxury of waking up in a clean, beautiful, pink linen cloud on my birthday. I grumble. Here it is again. I have no plans for this day apart from painting a wall in my daughter’s room. A perfect activity for my gloomy birthday mood. “What an unthankful cow”, you’re probably thinking. I think that too.

But then my husband and Iselilja came singing upstairs with a freshly baked croissant and a cup of hot tea and I got to blow out the candles on the Birthday Banana (weird tradition where you get a banana with candles on, have no idea how that started). Suddenly my mood shifted, it was lovely. I got some pretty incredible presents from my lovely family. From my girls I was given a record player and a couple of my favourite albums on vinyl, and from my husband I was given a sporty winter jacket and photo album with pictures from years ago, way before marriage, house and kids. It was so lovely. I was being spoilt rotten, and I completely indulged in it like an excited labrador let loose in the treats cupboard!

I did paint that wall in the kids bedroom, but I did it with a smile on my face, and when it was finished I watched a film with the family before we went for a spontaneous meal out. I even had a drink!

So at the end of the day I had the most wonderful birthday ever, thanks to my lovely family.



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