This is why I refuse to remember my son’s birthday – and see my grandchildren’s celebrations as an annual chore

A few weeks ago it was my eldest son Tom’s birthday: his 56th. But did I flag it to him somehow? I do not have. These days I’ve pretty much forgotten when most of my family’s birthdays are.

In my opinion, birthday celebrations are only for children and children. I told my five grandchildren that I would remember their birthdays until they were 21, but not after that. All but one have now passed that milestone.

As children, my sons Tom and Will would almost feel sick with excitement as their birthdays approached. But now they are middle-aged men and are more likely to look at another birthday with anticipation.

The childish aspect of birthdays is emphasized by singing that children’s song Happy Birthday To You. This song, if you can call it that, celebrated its centenary this year on March 4 and will seemingly never go away.

Liz Hodgkinson has told her relatives ‘let’s forget birthdays’. Pictured: Victoria Beckham leaves her huge 50th birthday party on the back of husband David

The tune was originally composed by American sisters Mildred and Patty Hill, who ran a kindergarten where they accompanied their students every day in singing a little jingle, Good Morning To All.

In 1924 it became the tune for Happy Birthday and became a celebration for the Hill family as they and their descendants made a fortune from royalties on the music.

Another thing to fear is when someone’s birthday is being celebrated in a restaurant and a raucous rendition of Happy Birthday can be heard from the (usually) drunk revelers and, often, the staff as they carry aloft a cake with lighted candles.

And is there anything worse than the surprise birthday party where you innocently show up at someone’s house to be greeted by tons of balloons and the assembled crowd singing Happy Birthday? I warned my family that if they ever dared to impose this ordeal on me, I would go home immediately.

I think birthday celebrations are just for kids and kids, writes Liz Hodgkinson.  I told my five grandchildren that I wouldn't remember their birthdays until they were 21

I think birthday celebrations are just for kids and kids, writes Liz Hodgkinson. I told my five grandchildren that I wouldn’t remember their birthdays until they were 21

The farce of adult birthdays became clear to me years ago when my distant relatives, most of whom I never saw, dutifully sent me birthday cards and sometimes presents, always days or weeks late. If you are going to celebrate someone’s birthday, it should be on the day itself.

Finally I came out and told them, let’s forget birthdays. This meant I didn’t have to try to remember theirs either, and there was a huge sigh of relief. Never again were birthday wishes received or sent.

However, my ex-husband remains attached to his birthday. Since I invariably forget the date, he will make me feel guilty by calling and singing: Happy Birthday To Me. In vain I tell him that his birthday is no longer a priority since we broke up 35 years ago.

But perhaps the most annoying birthday development of all is that almost every day I see a Facebook notification informing me that it is the birthday of one of my ‘friends’ – many of whom I have accepted friend requests from, due to a mutual connection , but have never met. To make matters worse, I am often asked to contribute to their favorite charity. To avoid this embarrassment, I have carefully not revealed my date of birth on social media.

My neighbors in the downstairs apartment are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they say that in their faith birthdays are never celebrated.

In my opinion they have the right idea.