Monday, March 3, 2008

Leap Share: A Narcissist's Nightmare

Leap Share: A Nacissist's Nightmare

© 2008 Leighann Lord

A lady in New Jersey who was born on Leap Day, carried on the family tradition, giving birth to her own daughter this year on February 29. This event made the news as a sweet human interest story, but I was horrified.

Since the baby was born healthy – mother and child doing fine – I can afford to concentrate on the more deeply superficial aspects of this story. Sharing a birthday, even one as unique as Leap Day, sounds cute, what about the long term consequences? Somebody, most likely mom, is getting gypped on presents, not to mention a lifetime of joint birthday parties. When mom turns 30, her daughter will be two. In my experience these are slightly different mile stones with completely different party favors. Will they ever have the freedom to celebrate their birthdays separately without one or both feeling guilty?

Honestly, that mom can kiss her next 20 birthdays good bye. They’ll be all about the kid. Children are relentlessly self centered, clearly a quality I’ve managed to retain. Mom may not get her birthday back until the kid’s out of college, and by then she’ll be hitting the big Five Oh.

One of the reasons Christmas is so expensive and stressful is that everybody gets a gift. That’s why it’s so important to spread out gift giving events. I am flabbergasted by those couples who, in a misguided romantic frenzy, get married on Valentine’s Day. No! They’ve combined two separate gift giving occasions: Valentine’s Day and their wedding anniversary. Usually someone offers up the lame line, "At least he’ll never forget our anniversary." Tell him to man-up and by a date book!

I’ve never heard of anyone in real life forgetting their wedding anniversary. That only happens on TV. I can see forgetting what year you’re up to or buying an inappropriate gift, but completely forgetting? Not possible. Like all animals, we’re born with instincts of self preservation and survival. Forgetting one’s wedding anniversary is a life threatening event.

And if you marry a man who could forget your anniversary, he could just as easily forget Valentine’s Day too. And now because you’ve combined occasions he’s forgotten both with no hope of redeeming himself until next year.

I love my husband, but I’ve always been a bit vexed that his birthday is so close to mine. We’re one week apart. Even more irksome is that his comes before mine. My Mom thinks this is cute. My husband’s birthday was her original due date for me, but I was late. Had I been born when expected, we’d share the same birthday. That may have been too much for my birthday narcissism to bare. I doubt we would have married.

Unless you have 365 immediate family members (or in this case 366), birthdays should never have to fall on top of one another. Spread them out. That’s what good family planning is all about.

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