When I turned 7, I asked mom if I could have all the girls in my class (there were maybe 7 or 8) over for a party. She let me despite hating that sort of thing and even painted a big happy birthday sign to hang on the wall. (And she was my age then.)
When I turned 9, mom said she would decorate cupcakes for me to take to school. (We took treats to school on our birthdays - perhaps a tradition left over from everyone's German backgrounds?) Then she broke a glass while washing dishes and had to get stitches in her palm, preventing any sort of decorating activities. So instead she ordered me a decorated Barbie cake from one of the local cake ladies.
When I turned 14, my friends left a trail of big decorated notes and cards all over the school for me, strategically placed so I would find one every period.
When I turned 15, we went out to eat at the Haye Loft, and my little sister's friend was the first person to ever say I looked pretty.
When I turned 17, a senior in high school, my best friend and I invited all our out-of-town friends for a sleepover in the front room of my dad's gigantic machine shed, where we could blast my dad's 1970s stereo and make noise as late as we wanted. We passed around Hy-Vee Red Pop like it was a bong.
When I turned 18, my new college friends took me out to eat at a Greek restaurant in downtown Chicago. I was serenaded over custard with candles by an impressively large number of waiters - as were people at every other table in the room! Everybody was having a birthday!
When I turned 19, my sometimes-boyfriend, never able to be on time for anything, got up super-early and elaborately decorated the hallway outside my dorm room with pink streamers and duct tape.
Naturally they've gotten a little more boring now that I'm older (and my husband, wonderful in every other way, isn't terribly creative). Today I'll just play some Dan Deacon to get my cheery self on, go to work for a while hoping to duck questions about when I'm going to treat all of them to cake for my birthday, then come home and work some more on this godforsaken paper that's due Wednesday, all the while counting the years until my next weekend birthday. Hopefully all of this will be followed by some delicious restaurant food at a yet-to-be-determined location :) And a glass of wine to ease the pain of moving pretty solidly out of the post-college demographic. Whee!
And thanks to everyone who participated in the awesome birthdays past mentioned above. You guys are the best.