Well friends, it happened again.
As many of you may remember from a post you totally read one year ago, birthdays and I have a love/hate relationship.
(You definitely did read that post, right? Of course you did! I know this. But just in case you may have, possibly, accidentally missed it last year, or been in a coma or something then, voila! Here is a link for your convenience: Birthday Lamentations
Go ahead and read it, take your time, I can wait.)
Ok, welcome back! Where were we? Right! Love/Hate:
I love that I was born once. That’s pretty neat. I also love celebrating all of the other birthdays in my life because they are attached to the people in my life that I also love and who are also pretty neat.
I hate the “Happy Birthday” song. I really do. I am humbled by people who care enough to sing to me, and by people who care in general, and by people who feel that I am worth singing about because, dang, I must be loved. But then there’s the whole having to stand still and be stared at and dear God what am I supposed to do with my hands?
There is also this thing where the amazing people I love go out of their way to make me feel special which is beyond sweet and kind and wonderful but also unnecessary because the fact that they are in my life at all is more than enough to make me feel like the luckiest Sun-Circler on the planet. Anything extra feels like I’m taking advantage of their beautiful, generous, and loving hearts and that’s not cool.
And ok FINE I’ll admit that “hate” is a strong word, but the song is creepy. And it demands that I be the center of attention for approximately 17-38 seconds and I’m really not big on the whole “everyone look at me!” thing, so yeah, it’s complicated.
NEVERTHELESS…another birthday is upon us and I must deal with that accordingly …but I don’t really know how to do that so instead, here is an abridged version of my I’m-not-at-all-important-enough-to-use-this-word: provenance.
Aw yeah, I used it anyway.
(pause for dramatic effect)
There was a tornado the day I was born.
Sounds epic, no? Like the beginning of some superhero’s origin story or possibly even the first line in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button…
(Hang on, is that the first line? That was a tsunami or some weird flash flood or something, right? If not please do me a solid and let me know ASAP; I’m really not looking to get sued by Warner Bros. or whoever represents Mr. Fitzgerald these days.)
My mother, having been ushered out of her hospital bed only a few short hours after my birth, cradled me in her arms as some nurse wheeled us out into the hospital hallway while my father likely threatened their lives for making his wife and new-born child do anything at all without his direct consent. (Love you, Dad. Thanks for looking out for me from minute one.)
The tornado wasn’t one of those devastating, “Storm Claims Lives” situations (thank God), nor was it a whimsical “There’s No Place Like Home,” type of deal. It was average, ultimately uneventful and for Mom, Dad and all of the other new parents huddled together in that hospital hallway, I’d be willing to bet it was mostly uncomfortable and more than a little bit awkward.
THUS, MY LEGACY WAS BORN!
I mean, it’s kind of perfect, right?! No doubt someday my epitaph will likely read:
1993 – 2187*
“Mostly uncomfortable and more than a little bit awkward.”
* Don’t get all judgey about my math skills, mmk? I am fully aware that 194 is pushing it just a tad – for now. But modern medicine is REALLY on the up&up and longevity is one of my family’s strengths genetically so be cool – it could happen.
I don’t remember how old I was when I first heard this story. I do remember the overwhelming feeling of “Hmm, how very fitting,” that struck me when I first heard it. I also remember my Mom very sweetly adding something along the lines of “you were well worth it” or distracting me from the profound prescience of the story altogether by telling me that I was “beautiful from day one,” or something else all cute and mom-like.
My father proudly recalled that he managed to stop at the bank and get a cup of coffee from McDonald’s while he and my Mom were on the way to the hospital.
“You took your sweet time, kid. It was all very relaxed.”
One item on the never-ending list of great things about moms, or at least my Mom, is that they think you’re beautiful no matter what. They think you’re beautiful when you’re a blurry, black and white splotch in an ultrasound photo. They think you’re beautiful when you hijack their bodies for nine months and use their bladder as a kick ball. They think you’re beautiful only moments after having endured the serious pain it took to bring you into the world, and somehow even in our wrinkly, squishy, pale, squinty newborn forms: they think we’re beautiful.
One great thing about Dads, especially mine, is that they tend to agree with Moms because they are so pumped up with Dad-pride. “I made this human, and it’s awesome. Now, LOOK AT IT!”
For me, this meant that my father took my newborn photos (ie, wrinkly, pale, squishy, squinty me), blew them up to the size of a poster board and hung them in his front office. (see photo below)
(As if I would purposely release those pictures to the world…ha! Not today, internet. You’ll all get a bald kitten instead and you’ll like it!)
Fortunately, a few things have changed since that day 24 years ago. I am still pale, sadly, and squishy isn’t entirely out of the picture either even though I got a FitBit like, six months ago. Psh, it must be broken…
Where was I going with this?
Oh, right! Differences! Well, for starters, Dad finally took that photo down.
I don’t squint as much and I’m less wrinkly. So those are pluses. I am slightly taller as well. Another win. Also the tornado has stopped, and to my knowledge Oz is still intact so no worries there either.
The biggest victory though, or victories, I suppose, would be that now in addition to some pretty awesome parents, I have all of you wonderful, beautiful people in my life too.
(cue the “awwws”)
But seriously; this is what hits me every time I circle the sun: not only did I somehow manage to stay alive for 365 more days – which is nothing short of miraculous given my general lack of coordination and affinity for getting lost – but my life also includes all of you, and MAN is that cool!
It has only taken me about 1,000 non-essential words to get here, but I have finally arrived at my point – thanks for bearing with me.
And thanks for everything else too.
For the “happy birthdays”
and the “I love yous”
and the millions of other ways you people have made my heart all warm and fuzzy for nearly a quarter of a century now – even when it isn’t my birthday. I am honored, and truly, deeply humbled by you all, and I am beyond grateful that you’re in my life – even during those dreaded 17-38 seconds of pure agony.
With 24-years-worth of love,