Birthday, Part II

Birthday, Part II

I warned you last week that this week’s column was also going to be birthday-related and narcissistic. Honestly, I thought I was going to look through my old blogs ( and find something that I could just copy, paste, and update a little bit. That isn’t going to happen.

Some of the things that I wrote about still do hold true. That people can really disappoint. That you can find some good people amongst those not-so-good people. It dawned on me that I have an almost entirely different group of friends than I did all those years ago. I also noticed that there was a certain “lightness” in my writing from those older posts that I no longer feel. And that definitely has to do with everything that I have been through with my dad.

That is the part that no one warns you about. That as you get older, the people you love get older too. That those people don’t always get older in a vibrant way. That even though your parents are still your parents, they aren’t there for you in the same way. No more asking my dad any question and having him give me an answer. And if he didn’t know the answer, he would look it up (in a book, not online). The past couple of years have been really hard and sad. I am sure that there are people who read my column who no longer have parents, or have been through much worse situations, but the one thing that we all have in common is that it is absolutely heartbreaking to watch someone you love decline.

We all want a life that is happy and healthy and pain free. That is filled with laughter and light and love. But sometimes reality is not that way. Which is why we have to appreciate every single thing that is good in each day that we are here.

I carry on about my birthday every year because I am a middle child who will forever be seeking approval and attention from others. But also because birthdays are a big deal. Surviving another year and being given the opportunity to experience another day is such a blessing — especially when you are healthy. Until my dad got sick, I never truly appreciated the gift of being able to walk up the stairs. To park your car and walk to the store. To take a shower. Things you never think about and just take for granted.

Wow, this birthday column has become very depressing. Sorry about that.

Okay, so I am turning 50. One of the things I forgot to mention in last week’s column about the things that have happened in the past decade is the new addition to my family. My very first daughter-in-law. Dil #1 has been part of the family for over a year now, and I think it has been going pretty well. And I am hoping that over the next decade, that relationship becomes one of mutual respect, love, and friendship. (Though I don’t think I will ever convince her to call me Banji, but that is okay. There are plenty of other things I hope she never calls me, but that is for another column.) Having her join the family has been the icing on the cake that we will call my 40s. See! I can bring food into any topic.

So here I am, the end of my last column in my 40s. Some of you might be rolling your eyes, thinking “why is she carrying on about her birthday?” In my world, I have two days that I can get attention from my family, Mother’s Day and my birthday. That is it. Those are the only two days that I can guilt them into paying homage to the crazy person that is me!! And 50 is a big one!!! 

So my birthday wish to myself and to anyone that is reading this is may this year be filled with only smiles. May this year be filled with only good news and good health. May this year bring back the ability to hug the ones we love and not have to wear a mask when we are near them. Happy birthday to me!!

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is fully aware that Husband #1 is very scared of her, especially when it comes to her birthday. She will try her best to behave this year, especially because she already got herself several gifts that she loves very much.

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