A Real Life “Sixteen Candles” at Twenty-One


Karissa Allen, Impact Staff

Growing up you may hear things about someone forgetting someone’s birthday and think to yourself, “I hope that never happens to me!” Then you hear about parents forgetting peoples birthdays, and think “I REALLY hope that doesn’t happen to me!”

In the 80’s people got to see what it was like for a teenager when her parents forgot her birthday. It wasn’t fun for Samantha Baker in “Sixteen Candles”.

Not only did Samantha Baker’s parents forget about her birthday but she had a rough birthday in general. Her parents were pre-occupied with her sister’s wedding, the grandparents were in town, and they brought a foreign exchange student that they had to look after.

Turning sixteen is a big deal, and when she woke up, and went down stairs she expected her parents to greet her with open arms and bright smiles on their faces wishing her a happy birthday. Instead, she walked down stairs to brother making fun of her, her father rushing out of the house, late for work, and her mother trying to rush the kids out of the house so they don’t miss the bus. Throwing little clues here and there, trying to tell them that they were forgetting something wasn’t working.

Sam has to deal with her parents forgetting her birthday, her sister’s wedding, four grandparents, an odd foreign exchange student, the senior dance which she has to bring her grandparents exchange student to, and a freshman who happens to be in love with her. Did I mention she is completely in love with a popular senior? Sam thinks he doesn’t know she exists. Whoa baby is she in for a treat. Jake Ryan, that popular senior, happens to be in love with her as well. The day after her sixteenth birthday she got the guy and a cake with sixteen candles.

Anyway, at sixteen it was hard for her to accept the fact that her parents forgot her birthday. The fact that it was a mile marker for teen girls didn’t help either!

Imagine at twenty-one how that feels.

forgot my birthdayTWENTY-ONE years of being alive, and your parents forget about your birthday. In my case it was my father.

February 26 was a day that I can’t ever forget. Not because it was my birthday and not because I turned twenty-one. But because my father forgot that I was born on that day.

On that particular Wednesday, I knew how Sam Baker felt. I was never mad at my father, because I knew he was a forgetful guy. Once I was old enough to remember dates, I would always remind him when my mom’s birthday was, when particular holidays were, and even his own birthday (as a joke of course). He never really remembered much when it came to dates.

I told him the day before that I would call him since I didn’t know when I would be free considering I had to work, go to class and I knew I was going out. He seemed to be okay with that. When I called him after dinner we talked for almost 45 minutes. Then he said, “Alright well I’m going to let you go I have to finish up some paper work and stuff.” Then we hung up the phone.

I couldn’t do anything for about 5 minutes but stare at the phone with my mouth open. No “Happy Birthday”, nothing. There were so many things going through my brain and I didn’t know what to think.

“Did he really forget my birthday?”

“Is this a dream?”

“This didn’t really just happen. No it couldn’t have.”

“He’ll call back. It was just a joke. He’ll call back.”

Then he didn’t call back. It was all suddenly very real. I cried for a while and on my drive back to campus. I sat in my car for a while because I just didn’t feel like moving. I never thought a parent forgetting your birthday would be that sad. I also didn’t ever imagine having to go through that.

I had to talk to someone about it so on Thursday I called my mom. I didn’t want her to be mad or upset with my father I just had to tell someone who understood. She asked me numerous times if I wanted her to talk to him. I couldn’t decide. I didn’t want to make him upset because I’m not the type of person that would do that.

My mom ended up sending him a text message and he called me shortly after. He apologized what seems to have been over 15 times. And every time he told me he was sorry, I told him I wasn’t mad at him, I never was. I was just upset, and in numerous different opinions I had the right to be. I finally new what Sam felt like, and I have established that I don’t like it. Not at all, and I don’t wish that upon my worst enemy.

 But if my father forgot my birthday, does that mean that there can still be a ‘Jake Ryan’ out there for me? Is he waiting for me with a cake with twenty-one candles?sixteencandles2