Birthdays, aka, Your Wonderful Life

Exactly one month from today, I will celebrate the fifth anniversary of my 25th birthday.

I’m totally excited about it, can’t you tell?

September is perhaps the worst possible month to celebrate a birthday, especially for a child. Despite how put together most teachers may outwardly appear during that first day of school, ask them which child’s birthday is first and you will learn what separates the truly prepared from the saving face prepared. (Because, after all, student birthdays are far more important than lesson plans or homework assignments, right?) My birthday was rarely remembered by teachers. Of course, bringing in cupcakes helped, but it was those in between years that were especially annoying. The years where you no longer brought in treats, because that wasn’t cool, but teachers still acted like they wanted to celebrate you. Yes, it would usually be October when the teacher would giddily announce to the class that it was the first student birthday of the year and she would hand a free homework pass or a fun class activity out in celebration of that student. Meanwhile, I was sitting in the back of the classroom thinking, ‘Wait, is September no longer a month in America?

But I’m not bitter. No, not at all.

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Rather than continue to lament over birthdays, and especially how desperately I do not want to acknowledge this year’s birthday number, I do still have within me some positive notions towards birthdays.

Growing up with three other siblings, you quickly realize that everything isn’t all about you, especially when your brothers’ birthdays all come first. Our birthdays are all right in a row, we are all summer babies, so that was always fun. Joel and Jonathan are a few weeks apart in July, and Justin’s birthday is in August. (It was yesterday, just for the record). As a child, celebrating our birthdays was an event. All of our friends were invited over and the highlight of the party was when our Pop and Gram would arrive, their trunk loaded with presents for the birthday child. After they carried out all their gifts, they somehow always managed to find a tiny present, trinket, or treat for the three of us whose birthday it wasn’t.

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While it has been a long time since I’ve received a present on one of my brothers’ birthdays, this tradition still makes their birthdays a sweet memory. Perhaps this memory is what makes me look forward to their birthdays just as much as my own, and even more so now that we have all passed the ’20’ mark.

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Justin’s 18th Birthday

I have decided to start to see birthdays not as, ‘Whew! Another year older!’ but instead as a ‘Woo-oo! Without this date you wouldn’t be here!”

I can’t help but apply the scene from one of my favorite movies, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ when Clarence says to a bewildered George Bailey who has just discovered his little brother’s grave, “You see George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?

While I will not deny that it is difficult to apply this mentality to a number I wish would disappear, I eagerly look forward to my wonderful life and the impact it will continue to make on others.

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