Another year, another birthday—thank God.
In the past two months, I attended two funerals. The first was that of a good friend and the second for a relative by marriage. I’m grateful to have had them in my life. I miss them both, and I’m sad that they won’t be with us to celebrate more birthdays.
Those out there who dread getting older, don’t. Growing older beats the alternative of not growing older. Better to be ancient than absent. To that end, my hope is to live to a very ripe old age. Since only the good die young, my chances of hanging in there for at least a century are excellent.
I love birthdays. I’m grateful for every birthday I celebrate because I’m still around to see more, learn more, experience more, and enjoy more of life with my family and friends. Today is my [not saying which one] birthday. Cake, ice cream and presents, yay! It doesn’t get much better than that. Except maybe for Christmas, which is a birthday too, come to think of it, just not mine—but I digress.
There are two birthdays I’ll never forget, my sixteenth and my twenty-fourth.
I was a tomboy in my youth. I’m certain my mother dreaded the approach of my sixteenth birthday. I showed little if any interest in dating boys as yet. In her infinite wisdom, my mom conspired with all our female relatives and my high school best friend. Those schemers planned a surprise party for me. They invited all my gal pals. And boys. They invited boys. (Now that was a bigger surprise than the party.) My gal pals pleaded guilty to it. There were other hurdles for the plotters to overcome. For example, I had skirts and blouses that I wore to school, but my tomboy wardrobe was short on party dresses. They numbered zero. One of my aunts managed to eliminate that deficiency. She brought one of her older daughter’s party dresses and matching pair of pumps for me to wear—my very first encounter with high-heeled shoes. After all these years, my strongest recollection of that surprise party was that it quickly became an exercise in concentration. I had to concentrate on not falling off the pumps and breaking my ankles. O joy.
By age twenty-four, I was well conversant with dating and with high heel shoes. I still managed not to fall off those toe torture chambers—except for that one time I tripped and toppled down the subway stairs on my way home from a summer job at Macy’s Herald Square. In my own defense, the shoes were too long and too loose because I had to wear a larger size to get the width I needed, and they were stiletto heels—but that’s another story.
My twenty-fourth birthday was memorable in the extreme for a very good reason, thanks to Macho Guy. He drove all the way to my parent’s home from the Army base down south where he was stationed to wish me a happy birthday. He told me he loved me, presented me with a diamond solitaire ring, and then he asked me to marry him. Best birthday present ever! (And I liked the ring too.) I was surprised, of course. I burst into tears, of course. And I absolutely said yes, of course. Consequently, each of my birthdays is also the anniversary of Macho Guy’s marriage proposal and our engagement. So romantic. ::deep sigh::
Now this birthday girl is taking her leave to get ready for birthday dinner out with Macho Guy, who will always be her best birthday present ever. 🙂