Changing the Narrative
My favorite birthday story
My mother refers to the year I was born as the year she didn’t get a cake.
She was born three minutes before the arrival of her twin brother. As twins, they shared not only their birthday, but everything related to birthday celebrations.
They shared a party. They shared presents. They shared cake.
Most years my mother did not get to choose what kind of cake she wanted. When she grew up, she was determined each year to have a birthday cake of her choosing.
And she did. Until I came along.
My mother spent her 24th birthday in the hospital, in labor with me. She wasn’t thrilled about it, but it was Friday, she was two weeks overdue, and her doctor wouldn’t let her wait any longer.
I was born at 5:33 pm. When my dad called the family to tell them about the safe arrival of their baby daughter, my mother’s family rushed from my uncle’s birthday celebration to the hospital to meet me. In their haste, they forgot to bring my mother a slice of birthday cake.
I always called it the year she got the gift that keeps on giving.
I loved sharing a birthday with my mother! Not only was it a great story I could tell, but the cake game was unmatched. She was determined that I would always get a birthday cake of my own, so I always got to choose.
If I wanted yellow cake with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles and she wanted strawberry shortcake, we had two cakes.
If I wanted ice cream sundaes and she wanted chocolate cake, we had two treats!
It was the best!
As I grew older, we started adding more fun things to our birthday celebrations - a trip for pancakes before school, special outings in the afternoon, time just the two of us (and sometimes my birthday uncle).
I told my mother that I loved sharing a birthday so much, someday I’d have a baby on our birthday.
(I’m sure you can guess what she thought of the idea!)
But years later, that’s exactly what I did. It required a bit of math, a fair amount of luck, and a lot of coaxing the doctors to agree to deliver her on my birthday.
It was a Saturday, I knew I’d need a C-section, and the hospital doesn’t schedule surgeries for the weekend. So my doctor told me to show up and he’d try to work me in.
I checked in at the hospital and waited in the lobby for hours. Finally the doctor came out and apologized, “This is the busiest day in Labor and Delivery this hospital has seen in 40 years. There are women birthing babies in the hallway. I’m really sorry. I won’t be able to deliver your baby today.”
The way I remember it, I stood up and growled at the doctor, “Today is my birthday. I will not leave without my baby.” And I turned around and sat back down.
A little bit later, they magically found OR space and my beautiful little birthday baby came into the world.
My mom, teary eyed, came to see me in the recovery room.
“See, Mom. I told you the year I was born you got the gift that keeps giving. Happy birthday!”
That was the last time she mentioned not getting a cake.
(Birthday Girls 2012)
Weekly Journal Prompts:
Use these prompts as written or as inspiration to uncover what you need in your life this week.
What stories do you tell yourself?
What stories do you tell about yourself to others?
How would a different perspective change your story?
What might your life look like if you changed your narrative?
What stories do you need to share?
Who needs to hear your story?
One Journaling Idea I Love:
Birthday Journal. I was introduced to this by my friend Tim just weeks ago and I’ve decided to start one this year!
Write in this volume each year on your birthday. Recap the best moments of this past year, what you learned, where you hope you’ll be this time next year.
This would be a great journal to start for a child or grandchild - turn the book over to them when they’re old enough to keep up the tradition for themselves!
Where You Can Find Me:
This week’s my birthday and I’m definitely celebrating! Join me on Wednesday, May 18 at 8 pm Eastern for Amanda’s Happy Birthday Journaling Party! Bring your journal and your open mind and come journal with me!
I share journal related content on LinkedIn every weekday by 8 am Eastern. Visit me there for stories, journaling ideas, and more!
I have a website! Visit me at GoodThingsComeToThoseWhoJournal.com
I’m always reachable by email.
My teenagers are doing their best to avoid me on TikTok…
Need more journal prompts at your fingertips? I have a collection of more than 375 that I’ve curated that can be yours. Find them here.
Interested in Working with Me?
Need help designing a journaling routine that works for you? Looking for ways to freshen up your practice? Have questions about journaling and the role it can play for you? Want to bring a journaling workshop into your workplace? Please reach out! I love helping people just like you work magic in your lives through journaling!