I was born on Christmas day.
To hear my sisters tell it, our mother went in to the hospital for treatment of an ulcer and came out with me. She acted like I was beautiful and wonderful. She said they were lucky to have me and they should be happy. They were not. According to my oldest sister, I was a slimy, red, preemie, sloth. I wasn’t cute at all. And I had ruined Christmas. You see, our dad, being a product of the Mad Men generation, had no idea how the whole ‘presents under the tree’ thing worked. That was Mom’s department. So not only was he befuddled by his newest daughter arriving six-weeks early, and his wife being in the hospital, he also had three older children waiting for Santa to arrive. (The third child was my brother who has never publicly stated his discontent over “The Year Tracy Ruined Christmas.”)
My arrival changed our family traditions. From that year forward, Santa delivered our gifts on Christmas Eve, while we knelt at church praying fervently for an obscene amount of loot. The next morning we got our stockings and I received a few more presents, invariably wrapped in Christmas paper. I’ve gotten cards with the words “Happy Birthday” hastily hand-scrawled over the “Season’s Greetings.” My cake was often lost in the shuffle, set on the buffet table along with so many other goodies it was rarely eaten. And I get the occasional, “Oh, you were born on Christmas? That must suck.”
But it doesn’t.
I was due in February. I chose to be born on December 25th. On a day when much of the world is celebrating, during a season where goodwill and unconditional love are the hallmarks. A day when families are together, and there are cookies and booze. Seriously, who doesn’t love cookies and booze? What better day to be born?
As the youngest, and arguably my parent’s favorite, I never once felt I lost out on anything by being born on a day when everyone else got presents, too. In fact, I felt special. Not like ‘ride the short bus’ kind of special, but special because MY Christmas is a little bit different, a little bit better, and bigger. For everyone else, it’s Christmas day, which is great. But for me? Well, I see your Christmas and RAISE you a birthday. Hah! I win. Now, of course, Christmas isn’t about who got what or whose is bigger. It’s all about giving and receiving and sharing and laughter. And forgiveness. So I think it’s about time my sisters forgive me for ruining their Christmas.
Author’s Note: I’m pretty sure they have forgiven me for that. And for the record, I’m sorry I pulled the leg off of the Miss Peep doll and broke all the legs off the plastic horses.