Tuesday, December 9, 2008


"You say it's your birthday / It's my birthday too--yeah / They say it's your birthday / We're gonna have a good time / I'm glad it's your birthday / Happy birthday to you / Yes, we're going to a party, party . . . / I would like you to dance [Birthday!"

I turned 34 years old yesterday. I received lots of birthday wishes and gifts and hugs and kisses, and I'm feeling really warm and fuzzy and yummy. Since we started dating, Dusty and I have maintained a tradition of staying up until midnight on the eve of a birthday to "ring it in", like your own personal New Year's Eve. So at the stroke of midnight on December 7/8, Dusty jumped up and down and said "Yay!", gave me a kiss and presented me with a lovely handmade card, as per our tradition. I waved my arms in the air, kicked my legs, and whispered "Yay!" I read my lovely card and then we all went promptly to bed. It was the most low-key Birthday Eve we've ever had.

This is the first birthday I can remember that snuck up on me. At the end of my Thanksgiving visit to my family, my mom piled my birthday gifts up next to my suitcase and it barely registered that my birthday was coming up fast. Usually, my birthday excitement starts building up at least a week before. I start singing, "It's almost my birthday! Not your birthday, but my birthday!" getting louder and more annoying as the week progresses. By the time Birthday Eve rolls around, I'm like a two-year-old who's had a sippy cup full of Dr. Pepper. I jump up and down on the bed yelling "Yay!" and singing, "It is now my birthday! Not your birthday, but my birthday!". I usually can't sleep for at least an hour after Birthday Eve celebrations because I'm too hopped up.

So what has changed? Well, on this Birthday Eve, I was sitting in the living room rocking chair with a soundly sleeping baby on my chest. Given the choice between FINALLY getting my child to bed and having my usual Birthday Eve, I'll happily dial down the hyper and zonk right on out. Even though we went to dinner with friends and celebrated my birthday with cake and gifts, the rest of the day felt like every other day. Diana and I slept in a little longer, but then we got up and it was just Monday. We played and napped and ate and went about our day like we always do.

I did, however, have the rare treat of talking for an hour on the phone with my Sag Sista, Mary, who is a fellow birthday enthusiast. She likes to do BIG things on her birthday and celebrated her birthday last week by going to Cuba. Mary is my hero. I realize this makes it sound like my birthday sucked this year because I didn't do a big thing like go to Cuba, but I think this is the point I'm trying to make: My birthday this year was HUGE.

Every birthday for the last four years, I've wished for the same thing before blowing out my candles. Last night, that birthday wish dug her wee fingers into my cake. I get to play and nap and eat and hang out every day with my birthday wish. How many people can say that? I ended up blowing out my candles three times due to some camera-shy candles, but I forgot to make a wish for this year. I mean, well, what more could I want? I guess I could've wished for world peace, but ohmigaw, like, that is SO Miss America. And we all know the tiara-wearing is the only good thing about being Miss America.

I can't remember where I picked up this quote, attributed to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, but I'm so inspired by it that I'll let it guide me to figure out my next few years' birthday wishes: "The criteria for success: You are free. You live in the present moment. You are useful to the people around you. You feel love for all humanity."

May all of you get your birthday wishes granted. Now I'm going to go have cake for breakfast.

"Birthday" by the Beatles. RIP John Lennon . . .
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