People From Around The World Share Their Heartwarming Birthday Stories

People From Around The World Share Their Heartwarming Birthday Stories

Birthdays can be a great excuse to gather your family and friends. And who doesn't love all of the gifts? Not all birthdays are equal, though; below are some of the most heartwarming birthday stories that show that there is so much love and kindness in the world.

Make sure to grab some tissues for the top stories, they are some you won't want to miss. And you never know, you may find some birthday ideas to surprise a loved one on their next birthday!

31640198143_4f76da2133_o-300x200.jpg Félix Péault on flickr

40. Darkest birthday

For my 40th, I wanted something special. Something nobody had ever done or seen before. So not only did my 40th celebrate my time on the Earth, it also celebrated the death of my youth.

All guests were instructed to dress nicely or in black (or both). The cake had a tombstone and grim reaper on it and I took one of those cardboard Halloween coffins and filled it with stuff from my childhood, teens, and twenties.

Lastly, I had my best friend, a real Roman Catholic priest, officiate the wake and funeral.

It was the coolest.

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39. "He's my jerk"

On the night of my eighth birthday I got food poisoning and threw up a bunch in the bathroom. My parents were quite shocked since I slept in a loft bed at the time and the bathroom was on the other side of the house.

So obviously, I get to stay home from school the next day. I feel like garbage and lay around on the couch, but then it all got better. One of my siblings calls me outside to see this three or four month old kitten that wandered onto our deck. A year before, my mum had to put down her old cat and he was an uncanny doppelganger. White stripe on his nose and everything.

Well, we had been tricked, we were back-stabbed, and we were quite possibly bamboozled.

He proved himself to be a two-bit carnival charlatan almost the instant we brought him inside. He scratched up everything and gave all our other cats ear mites, stole food, sheds everywhere, etc. He was basically the opposite of Squeakers. Oh wait, Squeakers was a jerk too, so . . .

He is also the sweet pudding tat ever. He loved cuddles and belly rubs and lets little kids play with him for hours, never biting or scratching or hissing once. If Patty Cakes doesn't like you, there is something wrong with you. Or at least you did something terrible in a past life and he can tell. Every morning he wakes me up with purrs and pets and boots my head off my own pillow so I wake up faster, cuddles with me when I'm sick.

He's fourteen this year and I cry whenever I think about losing him because I love him so much. He's a jerk but he's my jerk.

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38. New traditions

Today is my fourteenth birthday and it was perfect.

This was the first year since I was nine where I didn't feel sad on my birthday. I always used to feel lonely on birthdays, since no one (other than relatives) remembered. I also didn't really have friends, and I was really sad when I was nine-thirteen for some reason. However, this year, I actually made friends who seem like they would be lifelong, and I feel a lot happier than I did from when I was younger.

We (my three friends and I) went to Ikea, where we ate breakfast and looked at furniture. Then we went to the mall, where we took photos in a booth, shopped around some stores, and generally had a great time. I never laughed this much on a day that I usually didn't care about.

Also, I got a lot more greetings from people for some reason, so that was pretty cool.

This year was nice, I finally broke the "tradition" of feeling down. Hopefully next year will be the same.

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37. Simple things

My most recent birthday was the best. My significant other and I have been together two years at this point, she's from a nice family that celebrates everything and enjoys doing things. First birthday she tried to go all out and throw me a BBQ at home with friends, which was wonderful but exhausting. This year she planned nothing, actually blocked out the calendar to DO nothing with me.

It was the best, no timeline or plans. We slept in, drank at home before going to lunch, had some afternoon delight, met friends for dinner and then played video games together until falling asleep. She's amazing and I couldn't think her enough for understanding that I hate pre-set plans for parties, holidays, etc, it's just not me but that day was perfect.

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36. Space adventure

When I was 7 years old, I had a space themed birthday party. We set up a bunch of chairs in one room, to create the spaceship. All us kids would get in the spaceship, and "fly" to different planets, which were different rooms in my house, and we would do different activities in that room based on the planet.

I don't know why, but that birthday sticks out in my memory as my favorite birthday party as a kid.

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35. Morning treats

My first holiday with my boyfriend to another country. We went to Toulouse and stayed in a dirty 2 star hotel during the hottest part of the year.

My birthday just happened to be on the last day of the trip, wasn't planned like that, it's just how our free time lined up. I woke up that morning to find he had woken up early to run to the nearest bakery. That bakery had been closed, so he ran another 15 mins to the next closest one, all so he could surprise me when I woke up with a birthday pain au chocolat.

It meant so much to me, and I'll remember that as the best feeling I think I've ever had.

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34. Solo travels

For some reason I have always loved being alone on my birthday. Last year I happened to be flying home from Alaska with multiple stops and layovers totaling around 16 hours. I made sure I bought myself a drink and a treat in every airport, and while on the flights watched movies I was really excited about.

There was nothing particularly special about that birthday but I will always remember it.


33. Dad's first time

I've had a couple special birthdays, but my most recent 22nd birthday stands out. I love going to Disneyland for my birthday but I had never gone with my father EVER in my life.

It was just me and my parents and we had a blast. My dad hates rides, but he really enjoyed everything we did. Ended the day with some pineapple whip. I would love to repeat that day.

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32. New sea friends

I was 10 years old and I got to swim with the dolphins in Mexico! Dolphins are my favorite animal, plus I was on a cruise for the first (and only) time!


31. Confession

It was my 17th birthday. No one really gives me gifts and all which I don't mind. But every birthday, I would love to spend my money on all of my friends and I don't care if I go broke or what, as long as I see them happy, I'm happy. But that day was different. It was just a normal day at school, no one really greeted me except for my friends. It was lunch when my friend playfully grabbed my bag and took it with him into a different room. It took him a few minutes before he got out and I got really suspicious so I immediately checked my bag after retrieving it from him.

When I opened it, there was a small white box inside. I almost cried right then and there. He gave me a wooden music box (which is in the tune of Hedwig's theme song), he saved 3 months of allowance to it. I didn't know what to say or what to do because I was too flattered by the fact that someone actually took the effort to save up and give me a gift on my birthday. I was so happy, but it doesn't end there.

Later that day, all of my friends went home except for him. We were talking as usual when all of a sudden he started fidgeting which he rarely does unless his nervous or somethings bothering him. And guess what, (as I said this is really cliché) he confessed to me he liked me. I don't want to dig in more details but yea, he confessed..... and I felt that same.

We have been together 5 months now, and he helped me through a sad time.  I think that was the best birthday ever.

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30. Worst day ever

On my 18th birthday, I thought everyone had forgotten, so I was trying to make plans with any of my friends. They all said "sorry, busy, maybe tomorrow?" I was really frustrated.

So I went to a friend's house (the only one available), and then my mom called me saying she was feeling sick and all.
I was like, "Okay, that's it, this is the worst day of my life". My friend's mom drove me home to see what was happening with my mom.

I got there, and there were all of my friends, my parents, my family.....and a real-size electric guitar cake.

Best night ever!

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29. The legend

Barney the dinosaur came to my school and gave me a hug. Tears of joy man. Mother Goose was there too but I didn't give a crap about her.

Happiest birthday!

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28. Busted

On my 6th birthday, my mom got this incredible Batman cake. Seriously, it was an amazing, multi-level cake for my birthday. I was supposed to share it with my whole Montessori class.

At some point my mom heard a bump on the dining room table and shuffling feet. She discovered a huge chunk missing from the cake and the top part had been partially caved in, causing it to sag. She grabbed her disposable camera and bolted to the bonus room, where she found me building my Thomas the Tank Engine tabletop set.

Confused, she explored the house until she found my 4 year old brother, crying in his closet, scraping cake off his face and into his mouth. She took several pictures that I will keep forever.

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27. Rocking cake

I was working for a very well known musical instrument store, you might call it the middle of guitars. I had to work on my birthday, no way around it. Half way into my shift, I'm about to make the fast walk up the block to McDonald's (the only option for food other than bringing from home), when my mom and my then-girlfriend show up, with a darn full-sized Stratocaster cake.

Apparently she'd called my manager and arranged it, because the whole store staff came over, surprisingly enthusiastically sang happy birthday, and then shared cake with me and the dozen-ish customers in the store at the time.

So yeah, guitar cakes are awesome. Especially when the tuning knobs are gumdrops.

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26. "Stop whining!"

When I turned 30, my sister and I went shopping. It happened to be a Saturday and Saturday shopping was a regular thing for us at the time. Get out early and come home early. I was kind of grumpy that day and was ready to go home but she wouldn’t take me home!

"What the heck Sissy I’m over it and I want to go home." I fussed and she came up with excuses but I persisted and that went on because I’m a grown woman and I want to go home, dammit. So then she pulled the Sister Card and starts telling me that she’s feeling blue, doesn’t want to be alone and can’t we just go get lunch or something and hang out a little?

Oh for darn sake YES, of course we can go get lunch. I was so difficult.

Finally she takes me home but doesn’t just drop me off. I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh, she is super needy today."

I open the door and saw all the decorations a split second before SURPRISE!!

I turned and looked at my sister, the designated distracter, and she’d been waiting all day to say, “You’re a pain in the rear.”

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25. "One hour drive!?"

For my mom's 50th we planned a surprise, and invited around 50 people. The best one was her favorite coworker who had moved away and flew back for it.

We had recently done a missions trip so we told her it was a parents meeting and she had to be there. You wouldn't believe how much my mom complained, especially because it was at the furthest away friends house which was a solid hour drive, but it only made the surprise better.

I'm pretty sure it's all the only time I've managed to surprise her, and she still talks about how she loved it.

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24. Long flight

On my 6th birthday, my dad was a software engineer working in the UK at the time. His company acquired another company and sent him there under the guise of it being a temporary assignment, but they kept extending it much to his displeasure. My parents had just divorced and my mom was working long hours to keep up with bills, so the timing was bad and things were generally pretty rough.

My birthday weekend fell in the middle of my dad's stint in the UK. Without telling his boss, he flew back to spend the weekend with me (we're from California so it was a 10 hour flight). This also happened to be 4th of July weekend so he took me, my sister, and my grandparents to the family cabin deep in Wine Country to celebrate.

Friday, we had pizza and cake and I opened presents, the marquee gift being a gigantic Super-Soaker that I'd be pining for for months. Saturday, I got to run around, play catch with my dad, and shoot my sister with the Super-Soaker. Sunday we went swimming in a nearby creek and later watched the fireworks our neighbors sent off.

I just remember it being the pinnacle of carefree childhood fun. My dad risked his job and traveled thousands of miles to make it happen, which I'll never forget.

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23. Virtual friendship

I flew from Pennsylvania to Oregon to meet one of my online friends for the first time. Spent 4 days with him and he took me sight seeing, adventuring in nature, and just general wholesome fun. My birthday was the 3rd day I was there, and he bought me an ice cream cake. We put it in the freezer at the hotel and went out for more adventure. Loads of fun. When we came back, I went to get the cake out and it was melted.... We laughed hysterically and ate the melted mess anyways.

It was honestly just so carefree and innocent fun the whole time there I just can't believe it. He also honestly took the freaking time to plan things out for me before I even got there and genuinely enjoyed just hanging out and taking me to do things. I haven't had a lot of that in my life and I know it sounds bad, but just the fact that someone went through that much effort just to simply have fun with me... still makes me so happy today.

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22. The hunt

For my 13th birthday, I invited a bunch of my friends. We split up into three teams and each with a Polaroid camera. The parents gave the teams a list of pictures they needed to take like: in front of a fountain, bowling at a bowling alley, eating an ice cream cone, etc. They drove us around and whichever team made it back with like 25/30 won.

Took a few hours then we hung up all the Polaroids on a wall and played Super Smash Bros Melee.

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21. Professional Respect

It was the first time I was put in charge of a team of other people. I had a bit of anxiety thinking about going from "normal workplace drone with a boss and that's pretty much it" to "person with responsibilities that other people depended on."

My team was a bunch of new hires, like I was a couple years previous, with almost no experience in the company. They were all strangers to one another and to me, so I had to build a good reputation with each and every one of them from scratch, while also hoping they get along with each other as well. A strong team dynamic really makes the job so much better.

We were on the night shift. After about two months together we had a mini-meeting to get everybody coordinated on a new task at midnight. I noted the time and threw in as an aside "also, I have now officially departed the 20-something club, and made my first step into my 30's." It was said with a sarcastic joking tone, because yay, 30. But I saw that a few of them just lit up, smiled brightly, and wished me a happy birthday.

Then a guy in the back stands up and say "everyone, come on, let's sing it!" And I watched as my first team I was ever in charge of, a team I worried so much about getting along with me and with each other, joined in a chorus to sing me Happy Birthday.

The next day, I saw that a few brought in treats for the whole team. One girl actually got a cake for me. These are entry-level employees living in a very expensive city, so even $10 for a cake or a box of cookies or a dozen cupcakes is at great sacrifice to them.

We had enough leftover for the other two teams on the floor to share.

Not gonna lie, I almost blubbered like a little baby at that. I never saw another team come together and celebrate the way mine did. And to think, they responded so kindly to what I intended to be a sarcastic muse, expecting nothing more than a couple uncomfortable chuckles before moving on to the night's business.

Ever since then, I had almost zero anxiety worrying about my team's opinion of me or each other. I just knew we had a good thing going, and they all knew it too. I miss the heck out of those guys. They were incredible.

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20. Birthday miracle

After three rounds of IVF, my daughter was due to be born in February this year. My birthday is in late January. Things didn't quite go as planned and my wife's water broke four weeks early while I was out of town for work. There were phone calls, tears, fear, and helplessness. After a four hour drive to the next available flight home, I got the call at 7am, and finally made it to the hospital about 9pm. Bub arrived mid-morning the next day, screaming her lungs out (we were very glad to see they worked).

The next couple of weeks spent in the nursery were challenging at times, but I got to spend my birthday with my wife and daughter in our double room, at the hospital where I was born 33 years earlier, surrounded by the nurses who had worked with my mother when she was a nurse there.

Heck of a birthday.

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19. Money isn't everything

I grew up in a village with rich kids, and we were by far NOT rich. These kids would have parties where there were themes and hired professionals. They even planned transport, so the parents didn't need to pick up their kids. We did not even have a car, so my mom wrote on the letter that parents had to drop off and pick up their own kids. Somehow, kids still wanted to come to my house and celebrate my birthday.

We played outside and honestly, everyone was having such a blast that my mom had to call us 5 times to eat the food she prepared. We just quickly ate all the food my mom made and went to play outside. There was no theme, no face painting, pottery, clowns, or magicians. It was simply playing outside with a ball.

Everyone was sighing when their parents came to pick them up and asked to stay longer. I never forget that the next school day the kids came to ask to play with me. Normally, I was never invited to play after school.

I know it is nothing special, but for me it was really nice to feel like someone cool. It could have easily turned into something to bully me with.



18. "You promised."

Ironically it wasn't my birthday, but a classmate (a friend who I happened to have a crush on at the time) turned 18.

I'd been talking a lot with her, things had been going surprisingly well out of nowhere really, so I jokingly said that since I hadn't come up with an idea for a birthday present, I'd sing for her on her birthday in front of class. She pulls the old "Well now you said you'd do it so I expect you to", and having a crush on her didn't make it easy to say no.

Eventually her birthday arrived and we were at the party, and I obviously figured i was gonna need a fair bit of booze to get singing. She kept asking when I was gonna do it, so she was obviously looking forward to it, and eventually I decided it was time and did it.

Firstly: I can't sing, but I did, and for a guy who'd been struggling a lot with self esteem for various reasons, that in itself was a victory. Some even claimed that I sang well, and I'd still claim they're wrong.

Secondly, making a girl I liked smile like that, and making her birthday memorable was possibly an even bigger achievement in my book, considering I was terrible when it came to girls, and also at making people smile. It was more than worth the headache the next morning.

So yea, ironically enough my best birthday experience wasn't even my own birthday.

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17. Sweet 16

It was my sixteenth birthday, which was also on a Sunday. Most kids couldn’t wait to get their licenses, but I didn’t really care. My sister was in a cheer competition, and I was given the option to go and hate my life, or stay home alone.

I decided to stay home and do what I wanted for once. I was tired of going out to eat for my birthday, or have family come over instead of being able to do what I wanted. To stay home and relax. I ended up watching some achievement hunter on YouTube, and playing some destiny. Still the best day birthday I’ve ever had.

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16. Introvert's dream

Today is my birthday! It has been an introvert’s dream. I have the house all to myself this weekend. My husband and kids went to visit my in-laws. I slept in until 8:30, and I got all my work done by 11:00.

Then I went to the nail salon. There was a language barrier between the manicurist and myself; so there was no need to carry a conversation. She did understand, though, when I told her it is my birthday. She gave me a 10% birthday discount!

I picked up lunch on the way home. I ate lunch and watched a documentary. I then took a nap listening to the rain.

My husband surprised me by ordering dinner to be delivered to me at 7:15. He said he did this so I wouldn’t have to interact with anyone. He knows me well.

After dinner, I did a little online shopping, and now I am watching The Office and eating a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Since getting married, I don’t have a whole lot of alone time. I love my family to death, but I find that I am my best self when I have a chance to recharge. I’m thankful I have a husband who understands that. When my husband and babies get home Sunday, we will go to dinner to celebrate.

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15. New beginnings

Today is the best birthday - hands down. I’m technically 4 and a half hours away from my birthday (turning 34). I’ve got my husband, 2 yr old son, mom and dad sitting with me in my post-partum recovery room eating pizza. My newborn son is snuggled on my chest sleeping.

My heart is bursting with love and I’m grateful for every second of it.

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14. Living better

My 23rd birthday. I told my mom, “Don’t get me anything. Just stop drinking soda.” She used to drink 2-4 liters a day.

It’s been almost four years now and she hasn’t had any since. The best birthday present I ever received was a much longer and healthier life for my mom.


13. Disney dream

We went to Disney World in Orlando for my 7th birthday (I am British), and I forget which park but you could go and have breakfast with people dressed as the characters walking around greeting people.

We sat down and I don't really remember much, just my family buzzing around (Aunts, uncles, nan...all there, was a large family holiday), next thing I know the lights go off and I hear my name on the loud speaker saying its my birthday, the music starts playing.

Me and my family (and everyone else at this point) looks around and sees a large line of Disney characters walking out the kitchen following a birthday cake to my table, it was pretty amazing. (My mum had no idea they where going to do this either, she didn't know what to expect).

Turns out other kids got 1 character each if it was their birthday but as it turns out, since my mum brought the cake herself they decided to go all out and leave me until last so all the characters would be available, EVERYBODY was extremely jealous, I absolutely loved it, still making me tear up writing it.

They stopped doing it the year after too, so I got a once in a life time experience that day and one of very few fond memories.

Oh I'm 29 now so that was a long time ago.

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12. Arcade style

Even though I hate celebrating my birthday, my then-girlfriend really brought her A-Game.

For my 22nd birthday, I got home from class and inside my bedroom was a big pillow & blanket fort. I was taken a back and knew she'd be inside, and I was right. But what I didn't expect was to get handed a Nerf gun then get shot in the face.

So we chased each other around the room for like half a minute shooting each other before settling in the fort where she presented my favorite burrito from my favorite local food place.

I thought that was all but after we hung out for a bit she took me to the Colosseum, which is basically Dave & Buster's but I think it may only be local. It had an arcade upstairs, bar & restaurant downstairs. She got me $50 worth of tickets, and we played House of the Dead and a bunch of other games. She also supplied me with drinks all night.

After finishing up at the Colosseum she took me home and had some bedroom fun. You may notice I said my "then-girlfriend" at the start of my story, but don't worry. She's my wife now. She proposed (very much her style) to me a few months later and I'd have been an idiot to say no.

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11. Birthday love

My first date with my fiance was on my birthday. It was pretty much love at first site when we met.

Also years later:

My fiance blindfolded me and drove me to the animal shelter. We found my beloved dog Rowlf. Apparently there had been a dog house in the back yard for two weeks without me noticing (which he knew I wouldn't).

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10. Real life Buzz

When I was a kid I would watch Toy Story religiously. If you had to babysit me, you would just have to play that movie on repeat and I would be in a trance. So on my 4th or 5th Birthday my parents threw me a party and invited my friends and family over. At the party I was playing with my Buzz Lightyear action figure until my mom approaches me and takes it.

I watch her carry it up the stairs and for a moment I had my eyes glued on those steps. Shortly after she walks down, stops halfway down the steps and calls to me. When I looked up, I dropped my jaw because I was watching a life size Buzz walk down the steps behind her. He came to me and lifted me up and wished me a happy birthday. I couldn’t say anything because I was still trying to digest the moment. The other kids were also in shock and awe. Eventually he went back up the stairs and my mom returned the action figure to me.

For a while I was wondering how my folks did that, but I didn’t pry for answers. I was just happy that it happened.

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9. Crop Circles

My dad had a large garden in his backyard and I must have been about 7 or 8. I asked him if we could do a corn maze some day - he said maybe. I didn't really pay much attention to what he did in the garden usually but, come the next year, 90% of it was sprouting giant, tightly packed corn stalks. I'd mostly forgotten my wish by then, being a kid who was busy building lightsabers with PVC pipe those days.

The day of my birthday (and party), I came home from school to see a huge corn maze and my mom had turned our entire house into a haunted house. The school was small enough that everyone rode the same bus and everyone got off at my place so we got to work.

Best. Birthday. Ever.

Looking back, that was right around the time my dad got a new job. Every birthday prior to that had been very small with minimal presents and decoration. Because of how much fun us kids had that day, though, every birthday after was small and un-decorated as well.

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8. The Price is Right?

It was my 23rd birthday. I was on The Price Is Right. I won a trip to Vegas, but I took the money instead because the 'Trip to Vegas' was actually just like $1,000 in Travelocity dollars, which is nothing, especially in Vegas of all places. The check they sent me was for like $800. I bought a laptop with it.

The whole crowd sang Happy Birthday as I walked off stage. Decent time but not great.. and it would have been way better if they weren't super cheap.

Also I didn't get to keep the thing I bid on to get on stage, which was this awesome slot machine that I would have kept forever, which was valued at like $500.

Still mad at The Price is Right for that!

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7. Finally a good one

My favorite birthday was after years of having the worst birthdays. I finally had given up on trying to do fun things for my birthday and it made me super sad, but that year my friends pushed me to do something fun. We went to a craaaazy huge Halloween party at a famous hotel and raged all night long. When it turned midnight my friends wouldn't stop screaming "IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY!!!" at me and telling strangers about it.

The next morning we went out for brunch at my favorite vegan restaurant ever. Went home (was staying at my parents house that weekend) and my parents and brothers surprised me with a PS4 (I was completely shocked - I had been saving up for one but had to blow all my $ on a surgery for one of my dogs) and a digital copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 (which was the whole reason I was saving up for a PS4 in the first place - RDR was my favorite game ever so this was a huge deal to me). It had just come out that very weekend and I was upset I hadn't managed to get myself a PS4 by then. I cried.

And again, this was after years and years of horrible birthdays. Like, really, really terribly sad let downs and cancelled plans and people forgetting (also that one year a girl at school was killed on my birthday, yikes). So for my friends to push me to plan something, to all show up, to celebrate me all night and make me feel super special, and then for my family to get me such an amazing and incredible gift, when I wanted/expected nothing.... it was so good.

Honestly just the reminder the people love me that much helped pull me out of a depressive episode I had been going through.

Although now I feel like I'm never gonna be able to top it!

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6. Penguin love

So, I've always had a deep, manly affection for penguins. My local aquarium put in a penguin encounter thing you could pay for, X dollars for like 45 minutes with the penguins.

The first day it was available happened to be my birthday, so my mom paid for us to visit. When we got there we saw that there were like 60 people, and no one is 100% sure how things are supposed to work. The two teenage workers ask if we were there for the tour, and we were like, "Heck no we wanna play with the penguins!"

So, it was just my mom and me with three penguins for 45 minutes, it was fun, even when the keeper turned their back I gave the penguin a hug (turns out penguins do not enjoy hugs). Well as it worked out, they messed everything up, the package you pay for was penguin encounter AND back stage tour.

The way it is supposed to work is they stuff like 60 people in there and you have to share your penguins, but because of error we got 'em all to ourselves.

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5. Too much soap

It was my 18th birthday. I had a home basketball game and every time I went to get out of the shower after the game like 3 people would throw soap at me. It was funny at first but after like the fifth time it was kind of annoying.

Finally me and my friend were the last to leave the locker room. He offered me a ride home and when we walked into my house it was just my parents in the kitchen. Then like 35 people jumped out and surprised me.

It was amazing and I was actually very surprised. Afterwards, they told me they kept throwing soap at me so my girlfriend could finish getting everything ready. It was a blast.

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4. It's the little things

When I was a kid I had a tiny nine-inch television in my room that I had my Super Nintendo hooked up to. On my 12th birthday I was having a sleepover with a bunch of friends so my dad let me hook up the SNES (Super Nintendo) to our 32” TV downstairs. I walked in from school to find my dad playing Super Mario World on the TV and it was glorious.

Mario looked life sized compared to before and the colors were amazing. I was blown away. I still vividly remember watching him play in the forest level with the angry caterpillars.

Then later that night my friends and I stayed up all night eating pizza and having Street Fighter II tournaments. I can’t imagine any birthday being able to match that now.

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3. Less stress

My birthday is in that month where we always have final examinations, so since beginning I never really had a proper birthday party. It was mainly cutting a cake with mum and dad and then studying the whole night since I had exams the next day. My friends hardly ever wished me a happy birthday because they were always so tensed about exams (I don't blame them).

This year on my 17th birthday, I had my chemistry practical exams and I wasn't expecting much on my birthday as usual. I prepared for my exam the whole night... (no one called) went to give my practical and came back home. As soon as I was going to take a nap, my friend calls and me says "come outside".

I went outside my house and literally all my of friends were there with balloons, 3 cakes, and presents. I cut the cake. Then they all took me to this cafe that they all contributed to and booked for my birthday party. We had delicious food, great conversation and at last I gave a cheesy cliché speech on how thankful I am to have each one of them as my friend and I'll never forget this day.

At the end it got kinda happy emotional so we had a group hug. Thank you guys, thank you for making me feel special.


2. Quality time

My father was dying of a brain tumor. He was ambulatory, but just barely. He asked me if I'd like to have a birthday lunch with him.

We drove to a really lovely restaurant he had chosen and sat fairly close to the door because it was such a struggle for him. After we ordered, he began to cry, saying he wanted to do so much more for me.

I told him I loved the place -- it was next to a lake, great menu, but that was secondary. I told him that being with him was the best birthday gift I could ever hope for - and the best I ever had. We talked about all the wonderful things in life and I got him laughing about some of the crazy things he had done as a young boy.

It was the best birthday ever. Nothing will ever compare. It was so good to see him happy.

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1. A new family

My Mom and Dad divorced very early in my life, well before I was two years old. After their divorce, my Mom did the typical single mother thing and worked crazy long hours to make end's meet (zero financial support from her ex-husband, my Dad). As a kid, while I was content, I was pretty lonely growing up. After several years of living like this, my Mom met this single guy with two kids my age (literally we were all born the same year), fell in love and got married.

They didn’t do a fancy church wedding, they went down to the courthouse and got a marriage license, and then came straight home. We packed up the truck that afternoon and headed to the beach for a three-day camping trip.

The day they got married was my sixth birthday. I was just thrilled to have a “Dad” and a brother and a sister. What blew me away that evening was a surprise birthday cake, party, and presents at the beach next to a campfire on the shores of Lake Superior. That birthday, those feelings, those smells, and images will probably be with me the rest of my life.

That guy my Mom married would later go on and adopt me. BEST. DAY. EVER.

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