Birthdays at boarding school were alright. I mean, you were miles from your real family, but there were always lots of members of your school "family" with whom to celebrate. But then again, there was that dreaded lunchtime song. Lunches in the dining room were family style as opposed to the buffet style breakfast and dinner we were served. Family style meant we had to sit at assigned tables and partake in the meal together. At some point, an adult would ring a cowbell indicating we must all be quiet to hear announcements. After general announcements, came the birthday recognitions. If it was your birthday, you had to stand while all almost-200 people sang Happy Birthday to you. It was the longest rendition of Happy Birthday you'd have ever had the opportunity of hearing, and by the time it was over, you'd sit down, red-faced.
Thankfully, I spent all of my school years sharing the lunchtime birthday recognition with Mark. Of course, I never dreamed I would marry him, but sharing that moment always made that announcement so much more bearable. Not only was he a "big kid" and therefore cooler than cool, but it also took some of the pressure off during those few moments of song.
Now, while there is no lunchtime song--unless performed by four adorable children--I still love that I get to celebrate my birthday on the same day as Mark. Of course, I must point out that yesterday Mark turned the big 4-0, while I am 3 years behind him! But there is no one I would rather grow old with, and I am so grateful he was born and that our paths crossed in the just the right place and in just the right time years down the road from those moments following the infamous cowbell!