Since the school days, a non-work task I've somehow always been assigned to has been to remember people's birthdays. (And) so I try my best, to remember all birthdays of the members of the choir, of our kendo club, etc... and try even harder to remember birthdays of people who really matter to me. 

As a child, though I don't come from a wealthy family, I would say my parents did a wonderful job of leaving me with beautiful birthday memories. 

I clearly remember this red dress and huge cake full of red and green (!my favourite colour) cherries, and also another year, a cake in the shape of teenage mutant ninja turtles, my favourite childhood cartoon (street cred started young!). And once I could read really well (in chinese) Every year I would get a printed card, usually a print of a painting drawn by the physically handicapped, from my father, with a few short lines of wishes and encouragement in chinese. 

So one can expect my disappointment when last year my parents (almost) forgot my birthday. My mother swears she didn't but I could remember the guilty? look on my father's face. To cut my parents some slack (this incident aside they are awesome parents, especially my mom), they're getting old, and I wouldn't be surprised if they forgot, but still, somehow, I couldn't help but feel a little hurt. I seem to recall that there was a birthday cake eventually, but it was bought by me. After that experience I always try to buy people's birthday cakes because I recall the sad feeling of buying my own birthday cake, and want to minimize anyone else from feeling that. 

Forgetting a birthday is sad, to me, not because of the lack of presents, cake or a celebration, but rather, the notion of being forgotten. Because a birthday means something, to someone. At that point of time, n years back, this person was born/you gave birth to this person. And from that day onwards, this person started to exist. That to me is a wonderful and amazing thing (beyond what i can describe in simple words).

In a couple of hours time, I'll hit the wrong side of the 20s. A couple weeks ago, to my mom's credit, she  actually very cutely asked me when I'm free so she can treat me to a meal (though it was because she was reminded of my birthday this month by the card sent by the insurance company- these things always come freakinggg early!)
I guess as long as someone remembers, how they remember by doesn't really matter.