Hard Stuff


I love my birthday. I know you’re supposed to grow out of that feeling by the time you can wipe your own ass or drink legally, but it just never happened for me. Usually people are tapped out from gift giving at Christmas and straight-up broke to give two proper shits about my birthday a month later. Plus, it’s usually freezing which also greatly lowers people’s enthusiasm for my special day.

But, every year I put on an awkward birthday celebration when I force my loved ones to drink with me and put candles on a damn cookie cake as if they care as much as I do. It’s precious, really. Sometimes I wear a pink tutu. Sometimes I wear a homemade “Birthday Girl” shirt. But there’s always pink champagne. Usually too much that I end up revisiting in the toilet later on…but it’s tradition.

This year was obviously different. I was never going to have a “good” 34th birthday. It wasn’t in the cards this year. For maybe the first time in my life, I wished for a birthday boycott.

No celebration.

No cake.

No candles.

No presents.

I woke up immediately wanting the day to be over. There’s something very dreadful about being wished a “happy” anything when you’re internally inconsolable. Some people didn’t know about the loss, others played ignorant, others openly said “Your birthday is going to suck, but we love you.”

I love those people.

They were right.

I held it together all day. I accepted the kind-hearted birthday wishes, but by the early evening when my children were giddy with excitement over “mama’s day,” I just kind of…shut down.

This birthday was going to be different. I was supposed to be in the early stages of my second trimester. I was supposed to be begrudgingly sober. I was supposed to be propped up on the couch with a growing belly, healthy baby and full heart.

34 will be remembered as me being slightly befuddled by 4:30pm (Chardonnay– that dirty rascal), a stomach full of bloat and in a full blown mental-health crisis by 8:30pm. My heart couldn’t process what my head was telling me:

The baby isn’t here.

It was at that moment when I realized that my sadness was bigger than I wanted to recognize. That, right there is a sobering thought.

I’m not that tough.

So on my 34th birthday, late at night, I contacted a grief counselor. A gift to myself? Yes. A gift to others who will undoubtedly grow tired of my meltdowns? Yes.

I much prefer my previous birthdays (even my 18th birthday when I decided it was “time” to wear a thong for the first time and walked around like I was…well, wearing a thong for the first time), but I’m realizing that I’m pretty lucky to have waited 34 years for a truly bad birthday.

And was it all that bad?

No. It was just different. An unexpected, unanticipated different.

I’m still struggling. That isn’t news. Life is moving forward. I’m moving forward and that pains me, in a weird way. My birthday forced me to realize that there is an internal, mental conflict between “Public Allee” who smiles, accepts good wishes and celebrates her birthday and “Private Allee” who feels suffocated, stifled and slow to return to “normal.”

But I’m getting there.

Happy Birthday to me and Happy Birthday to my high-deductible medical insurance that is about to be HIT UP with counseling co-pays.

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