This year I spent my birthday at our annual fall faculty retreat. People asked me if I minded spending a birthday at such an event, and I said it was all right this year. I had done it before, and this year was fine, kind of boring actually.
I won't ever forget that first birthday retreat because my poor kitty, Miss Lily, was in the animal ICU, dying that day. I kept getting phone calls from different vets as we talked over her condition and made decisions about what to do next. I would get a ring on the phone, excuse myself to the corridor, talk to the doctors while pacing the hallway, and eventually return to the meeting in tears, only to do it again a couple of hours later.