DEAR HARRIETTE: I love to plan my birthday celebrations. I feel like it is the one day a year I can completely make about me. This year, my girlfriend of almost a year was shocked to learn that I have been planning my own birthdays for all my adult life. According to her, the celebration should be planned by a partner, family or friends. She claims that this is a way of pampering whoever's birthday it is. I disagree; I like to know exactly what is going on. So who traditionally plans the birthday bash? -- Am I Wrong?, Patchogue, New York
DEAR AM I WRONG?: I believe that the tradition of having someone else plan your birthday celebration dates back to parents, usually mothers, planning parties for their children. It is true that in many relationships, friends or family members do continue that tradition by planning special events for their loved ones. Out of that tradition easily comes the surprise party, which some people love, and others abhor.
This leads us to you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you planning your own birthday parties. This allows you to create and control the type of event you want -- and even manage the guest list. I have been planning my birthday parties since I was a young adult. I totally get why you would like that. I will add, though, that if your girlfriend wants to be a part of your party planning, do your best to make room for her to participate. You can acknowledge your girlfriend's desire to pamper you and invite her to be your co-pilot. Admit that this is not your practice, so you need her to be flexible. Talk about your ideas with her. Once you make a definitive plan, ask her to take on certain responsibilities. Try it out. You may enjoy her participation and support.