“I’m 29—again!” say so many adults. Because Birthdays (with a capital B instead of a puny little b) are not really for adults. Of course not. Who wants to see the numbers go up and up and up? Who likes readjusting one’s self-image one step farther from the everlasting twenty year old in Levis and long rich hair and a passel of dreams, ambitions, hopes and enthusiasms galloping through her heart? Who ENJOYS commemorating one more year toward the decrepitude and loss and the million year sleep?
Okay, maybe not the last part. “But STILL!” to use the brilliant debating words of my Levi-clad twenty year old self.
Birthdays are cool. Seriously. No matter how ridiculous and surrealistic the numbers get; no matter if it’s hard to remember the exact age this time around and it seems less important than last year; no matter if so many other adults seem slightly annoyed or embarrassed or depressed or just plain disinterested in another birthday. I LIKE THEM!
I like waking up in the morning and thinking, “It’s my birthday!” I like imagining my mother a long time ago, lovely and young and so pregnant that she could not tolerate waiting around one day longer and attended (with my frantically worried father) an outdoor classical music concert. The next day she gave birth. I like imagining that my last sounds in utero were Mozart and Beethoven and Vivaldi. I like picturing my young parents so excited, my big sister a preschool mama, my old house in Plainview with its tall trees and big yard and my other sister’s collie that pushed me down the stairs later on, when I was five.
Silly, maybe. Nostalgic, yes, but the fun kind. All kinds of birthdays merge together in the collage of my August 6th mind. The big parties with balloons and pointed hats—and my nose bleeding as I wiped it on my clothes. The parties at Lake Ronkonkoma and Great Adventure—and puking out the window of the car after too many rides on that whirly thing called the Trabant. The parties of giggling girls sleeping over and the later parties of drinking because I could (though I hated it) and then of being in love and blowing out candles on a Mediterranean beach. And parties, so many parties, of just family: simple, sweet, nice. I especially recall checking into the hospital on my birthday because the memo of my September 15 due date for the baby’s birth had not reached Cody, and he wanted to celebrate with me. He took two days to arrive, of course (he likes to take his time), but still, that birthday was the most special of all.
Birthdays are, even for adults, a day in which we mark our journey. We see the trees and feel the shade and yearn for the sun. We smile and feel sad for who is missing, who will only reappear in the collage. And so, yes, we are wistful too. We are the sum of all our birthdays and yet none of our birthdays, just like the number matters so greatly and yet does not matter at all.
Thank you to my family for the lovely lunch at Seaport Village. Thank you to Facebook friends for your well wishes.
It’s my birthday, and I can blog if I want to. And it feels great. Now I’m going to go eat some more cake and ice cream!