Today is my birthday… and it’s a big one — I’m a full quarter of a century old! (That’s 25 years, if you’re not so mathematically inclined.)
I still sleep like that.
Of course with a major birthday comes a minor crisis, so I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing this week. I spent time with a few old friends from college. I took a look back through the scrapbook my mom made for me after my high school graduation. I thought about life and love, about family and friends, about where I’ve been and where I want to go. I thought about writing a country song with that last phrase in it.
And, of course, I thought about my past birthdays.
I don’t actually remember this birthday. But from the pictures, it was awesome. I got to pull on the family dog’s ears and nobody yelled at me. I didn’t care that my dress was dirty or that my underwear was showing. There was a cake, and it was on my face. Now THAT is the life.
The first birthday I really have a memory of. I remember that my mom made me an Oreo cake — a big number 5, with Oreo cookies lining the edges. She made those cakes for every birthday until I turned 8 or so.
Who wouldn't want to be friends with the girl with the flat head?!
My family moved during the summer that I turned 8, just a few weeks before my birthday. I knew a few kids in my new town that I had met during a school visit, and of course one or two of the neighbors and kids from my Sunday School class. Although I was excited to make new friends, it was really scary and a little depressing to go to my birthday party where I couldn’t remember everyone’s name.
I also remember being really impressed by the fact that some of the girls were wearing bras. As an 8-year-old, this is an important differentiator, and if you wear one, you wanted everyone to know it. (You know you’re growing up when… you wear a tan bra under a white shirt because you DON’T want everyone to see it.) I needed nothing of the sort and my mother certainly had no intent of buying me one.
Another scarring birthday. I was at summer camp for a month, and my birthday was the second day. I hadn’t even had time to start missing my parents yet, but their “special” phone call for my birthday made me burst into tears. Of course, the next five years I spent my birthday at camp, I was more excited to open their presents to me (ILLEGAL CANDY!!!!) than to talk to them on the phone.
16 and 1 month
I couldn’t have cared less about turning 16, it was all about the driver’s license coming a month later. My dad was nice enough to take a picture of me with my license and the keys to my new car.
Things in the picture that I wish were not in the picture:
-Umbro lanyard with 6 “fun” keychains and 2 keys attached
-My stomach, thanks to my cropped shirt and low-rise shorts
-Bad haircut and orangey-blonde highlights
Needless to say, this is not a picture I really enjoy looking back at, but I do still remember the pride of thinking “I HAVE MY LICENSE NOW!!!!!”.
I had just had foot surgery and was in a boot. I was also working on mastering the art of self-tanner and was orange. End of story.
Of course. I had spent hours picking out a great dress, perfecting my tan, and straightening my hair to go to one of College Park’s finest dive bars. My most clear memory from that night is the feeling that I got when the clock struck midnight on my birthday. After three years of hoping that bouncers would ignore the fact that I wasn’t actually a heavyset 30-year-old blonde like my ID suggested, the idea that I could actually legitimately get into a bar was just beyond comprehension (well, after the amount of alcohol I had consumed, pretty much everything was beyond comprehension). I went to a liquor store later that day and bought a bottle of Kentucky Gentleman, just because I could.
And here we are at 25. This summer has been great, and if it continues into my 25th year, I have a feeling this will be the (cliche for a reason) best year ever.