it is two months today until my twenty-eighth birthday. I love birthdays. I have never yet been able to understand the people who lament being another year older. aren't we lucky? I think birthdays are chances to celebrate the lives we have been given. I love to make a big deal about other peoples' birthdays, too. do you know birthdays are one of those things about people I never forget? I could still tell you the birthdays of every girl I've ever called "best friend" (feb. 5, feb. 2, may 20, sept. 15, dec. 5) or boys I had crushes on in elementary school (kevin: may 17; matt: may 4). once I know your birthday, I promise I won't forget it.
some birthdays to remember:
age 10: upon waking, I discovered my mother had set up a complicated scavenger hunt for my birthday present. it took me all through the house: in the closets, outside in the yard, down in the basement. in the end, the gift was under my own bed. I still remember seeing it there, by itself on the hardwoods. it was my first Nintendo.
age 19: both of us recently home from college, my high school friend Chris took me out to my favorite little cafe at the time, a tiny restaurant nestled in a local bookstore. afterwards we meandered through the stacks, ending up in the kids' section, where we sat on the steps of the tiny play area and he read to me from a Berenstain Bears book, inserting dirty words and scenarios into the narrative. on our way home we listened to country music, all the windows cranked. 'do you know how to two-step?' he asked me. when I shook my head, he pulled into the parking lot of the high school track, cut the engine, and turned up the radio. and then we danced, clumsily, laughing, our feet crunching the gravel, in the headlights of his car.
age 21: my actual 21st birthday -- at a bar, with my boyfriend at his friends, drinking pitchers of beer -- was typical. but my mother and I celebrated my birthday later that summer. her gift to me was a trip to NYC, and tickets to a Yankees game, where we sat in the bleachers in right field, listening to New Yorkers cat-calling the Blue Jays' fielder, eating hot dogs, and drinking beers. we spent the weekend in the city, where in addition to the ball game, we got our palms read ('you'll live to be 96,' the palm reader told me, 'and will have three children'), and my mom bought me a much-coveted black bikini that I still have and wear.