the birthday present

I woke up yesterday, on the morning of my 27th birthday, feeling a little flat. Here I was, with a normal day at work ahead of me, all alone with no one to watch me open my cards, or make me a special birthday breakfast, or give me an exciting birthday present. Not very celebratory.

Then I switched on the radio, and the first thing I heard was Matthew Price’s harrowing report from a temporary hospital in Haiti on the Today programme. A young American doctor was fighting back the tears as she told of a mother who had already lost three children in the earthquake, and would lose her fourth and last child that day if vital medical supplies didn’t arrive.

As I sat listening, it seemed unbelievable that here I was, drinking my tea and opening my birthday cards, thinking about things like what I was going to wear and where my friends and I would go for drinks that night, when somewhere at that very moment, thousands of people were suffering and dying. All at once, even thinking about something as trivial as birthday presents seemed like the most decadent thing in the world.

And so: I had a lovely birthday. I had a good day at work, a great evening out with my friends, lots of cards and messages and indeed some beautiful birthday presents, but I’m not going to say anything about that right now.

Instead what I’m going to say is simply that this year, the birthday present that really mattered wasn’t one that I received but one that I gave, by visiting the Bloggers for Haiti page and donating online.

I’m not quite sure I can put this quite eloquently as my blogging colleagues at My Shitty 20s and Travels With My Baby, but if we all give even a little, we can make a difference. If you would like to make a donation, go here and follow the easy instructions. It might just be the most important present you give anyone this year.


20 January 2010 at 17:33 Demented Demon. said...

Happy birthday, for what it's worth mine was on Monday and additionally haunted by the earthquake. I shall donate my birthday money to the cause, it's heartbreaking and can only hope aid arrives in time.

13 February 2010 at 14:28 Katherine Woodfine said...

Good stuff - and a happy birthday to you too.