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Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Season of Birthdays

Every year, today marks the beginning of a month-and-a-half long sprint through a ton of birthdays in my family.

It starts off a little slow. After my older sister's birthday today, it will be three more weeks before we see another milestone. But then we'll have my mother's birthday. Just over a week after that is my nephew's birthday. Dad comes three days after him. I'm less than a week after Dad. My younger sister comes a week and a day after me, and finishes us off for the fall round of birthdays. Of course, here in the U.S., Thanksgiving usually comes just over a week after her birthday, and then Christmas is right behind that, so our time of celebration tends to go on for about three months instead of just the simple six weeks of actual birthdays.

If we include the birthdays of some extended family in the mix, we could have started all of this a week ago. An aunt and a cousin both had birthdays on the 24th, and another aunt had a birthday on the 26th.

But if we're going to push the celebration back a week, why not take it back a full month, and get one of my brothers at the end of August, along with a couple more cousins and an uncle?

I guess you could say that in my family, we start partying in late August and don't stop until after the New Year. Only one of my siblings is left out of this. My baby brother was born in April, so he is pretty much on his own out there. In some ways, I think that's good. After all, we all tend to have more money when his birthday rolls around than we do for the rest of our birthdays, since we're all so clumped together. In other ways though, it tends to isolate him. He doesn't get to have a celebration that is all about him in the midst of the celebrations surrounding each of the rest of us.

Another thing I noticed many years ago (don't ask me why I was thinking about this) is that all of my siblings and I were likely conceived on or around a holiday. Knowing my parents as I do, and their . . . um . . . habits, this did not exactly surprise me. It was certainly rather enlightening.

In case you're wondering, I am a product of Valentine's Day, as is my younger sister.

Over the course of my writing, I've created a number of families. Some of them tend to take on some of these characteristics. Maybe one set of parents tends to feel a little frisky in the spring, when the flowers are blooming and the weather is warming up, so they'll tend to have children in the winter. Things like that.

Are there birthday trends like this in your family, where everyone's birthday tends to fall around the same time of year? Or are there other trends you've noticed with your family's birthdays, like the holiday conceptions in my family? As a writer, do you tend to think along these lines when you create your characters?


  1. In my family (extended family I guess), there is definitely a cluster. My father-in-law, brother and I all have birthdays within a 30-day period. Add another week in there, and you can throw in my sister-in-law. Not a huge cluster, but a cluster.

    The big(maybe just bigger b/c there really aren't THAT many that I track) cluster comes in March/April. My MIL is 3/15, my son is 3/29, DH is 4/6, and my shrimpettes are due 4/25. However, given I delivered my boy at 37 weeks, I'm expecting the twins close to the beginning of April, at the latest.

    Birthdays aren't really talked about much in my WIPs b/c most of my characters are hundreds of years old. However, I know when they are (more or less), and I try to scatter them throughout the calendar.

  2. August through the New Year is insanely busy for our family. We have three birthdays in August, two in September, one in October plus Halloween, two in November plus Thanksgiving, mine in December plus Christmas and then my son's in January right after the New Year. Hmm... I better start shopping soon.

  3. We have a cluster of birthdays like this in the fall, with my sister and her two sons. You've really got to plan the birthday gifts just right, so you still have some good ideas left for Christmas. LOL

    But the most fun part is that for about 3 weeks each year, my sister and I are the same age! LOL She is 11 months younger, but her birthday is in October, and mine is in November. When I was a kid it blew my mind. LOL

  4. When I was in school, I knew a family where the mother and all the kids but one were born on Valentine's Day. This was a big family and that was an enormous party every year. You might think the kids wouldn't like having to share their birthdays. But no, it was the one kid with an 'odd' day who was disgruntled. LOL

  5. Wow, it seems like a lot of families have these clusters of birthdays.

    Tory, good luck with your twins! And I don't really discuss birthdays in my MSs either, unless it comes up in the plot for some reason, but when I'm planning my characters, I always know their DOB.

    Samantha, sounds like your family is very similar to mine! I didn't even think to add Halloween in to our list, but now that we've got a young'un again who'll need to be costumed and whatnot, I suppose I should include it as part of the money drain.

    Donna, that would be very odd to be the same age as a younger sibling, at least for a short period of time. Very cool too, though. (But wow! 11 months! Your poor mother, LOL.)

    Clarissa, they were all born on the same day? How weird. You have to think that was planned that way. I can understand the one that is separate being a little upset. He would feel left out, like he was different. That's too bad.

  6. We're in our cluster time, too. A majority even fall on the same day of the week! My niece is the odd man out in April, then we have 2 July, 1 Aug., 3 Sept., 2 Oct., 3 Nov., 2 Dec.

  7. So funny, Catherine! We actually don't have this problem in my family, but almost ALL of my friends are October babies, including my hubby. We have quite a few in September as well, then I'm just after Thanksgiving, right before our anniversary, which is just before Christmas, which is also our daughter's b'day! So fall is a pretty busy party season for us too. LOL!

    Fun post! :)

  8. Ari, that's so funny that your cluster time is pretty much the same as ours, and that your odd man out is also in April! I wonder what that's about. LOL. But maybe I'm reading too much into things.

    And Jerrica, I would think it would be more normal, in most families, to have it all spread out. I know some teachers' kids are all born in the summer and things like that, which make sense, but generally most people don't need to plan it quite that strictly. But that is odd that your friends are all October birthdays. Let's see...October would make them all either Libras or Scorpios. Maybe you just get along really well with people born under those signs?

  9. Actually, I don't think any of them are Scorpios!!! Almost all Libras and Virgos!