Today is the 40th annual Davemas, and it seems less important than ever

When you birthday is just three days away from Christmas, it's easy to feel like you're being overlooked. As a kid, my mom would work hard to separate my birthday and Christmas, but there was only so much she could do. Other kids had great parties, mine were usually small if I had one, I think because most parents were sick of Christmas parties by then. And the pile of gifts, when adding my my birthday, rarely looked any different than any other kid in the family on Christmas day.

Veteran Young Guy in action
Things as an adult actually became worse. I worked for Meijer throughout college, so I usually worked the night of my birthday. I thought I had escaped that fate when I graduated from Oakland University, but I ended up working at Kroger in store management, which guaranteed I would work on my birthday.

As a result, I became pretty obnoxious about my birthday and started calling it Davemas around my 30th birthday. I wasn't working in retail at the time, so I could enjoy an entire day of drinking dry Tanqueray martinis (shaken, not stirred. Sorry martini purists!).

Ten years later, and I'm still calling my birthday Davemas but a lot has changed since then. My drink of choice now is a Manhattan neat, preferably made with Peychaud's bitters. I started writing again, and an entire new world of career options opened up to me. I've earned a Master's Degree that I have no plans of using directly. I married the woman I should have married in the first place. I have a daughter (The Kid) who will keep me on my toes until the day I die.  

Davemas also seems less important to me know than ever before. On tap for this year is dinner with my immediate family, followed by drinks with some good friends afterward. Nothing elaborate, no Davemas carols, no Davemas tree. The fact is, the entire focus of my life has changed.

And that is a good thing. Career decisions, housing decisions, vacation decisions, even decisions about dinner are different now because there is a 22 month old in the house. The Kid tempers every impulse I have to make rash decisions because I want to be the best Papa I can be for her.

But the real reason Davemas isn't as important this year to me as it has been in the past is rediscovery. Through The Kid, I'm rediscovering so many things. Wandering through zoos, museums and aquariums has taken on a whole new meaning. Watching the wonder in her eyes when she took her first airplane ride, or her first ride on the People Mover, or when she discovered what the moon is in real life were all amazing experiences. Hearing her struggle to master a new word, then use it over and over again for the next week still makes me chuckle. Helping her learn Christmas carols and nursery rhymes has made them all fun again. Watching her "smash" her birthday cake in her own way.

I'll still call my birthday Davemas just because I think it has a nice ring to it. But the birthday I'm really looking forward to is The Kid's, so I can rediscover what birthdays can look like through the eyes of a two year-old.




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