This past Tuesday, my beloved partner Bob turned 36 years old. Next week Thursday, my adored baby sister Jennifer will reach the same milestone. My two favorite people of all-time made their worldly debuts a mere nine days apart. August 1980 was a hugely important month that impacted the trajectory of many lives for the better.
In between the 2nd and the 11th lies my own birthday number 38 – on Monday the 8th. I often joke that I was born first, therefore Bob and Jenny ought to pull up stakes and find their own months. But the truth is I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t feel lost in the shuffle or stuck in the middle. I’m also not a big believer in destiny but this year more than others, I’m awed by the quirks of timing.
Since meeting and falling in love with Bob, and following our unspoken commitment to remain by each other’s sides, an incidental gift is enjoyed each summer. For a week plus the three of us and our families are afforded the opportunity to give thanks for our own lives as well as two others that fill it with so much joy. Those nine days are a hectic flurry of planning, shopping and well-wishing, but it’s important to sit still for a moment and be in that place of gratitude. To wonder at the happenstance which insists my love for these two sit at the conscious forefront for an appropriate two percent of the year.
Birthdays can be a selfish time. As a woman who in her 20s publicly wore a crown every August 8th, and promoted what I now recognize was a completely obnoxious “Shopping Day Countdown” for friends and family, I know a little something about self-immersion. I’ve grown and changed in so many ways and one of these evolutions is a downsize in celebratory approach. It’s not that I enjoy my birthday any less. Rather I understand that I can’t fete myself in a vacuum. It is the other people who render my existence as fulfilling as it is. Were there no August 2nd and August 11th 1980, I don’t know where I’d be.
Nope. My day is not lost. I no longer carry the resentment of a child who hated sharing parties and presents with her kid sister who, oh by the way, was six weeks early and should have been born in the fall! I am thrilled to have my birthday sandwiched between the arrivals of my own dynamic duo – the comedians, support network and good, kind people who challenge me and everyone around them to do better.
Two nights past, Bob asked me where I want to go, what I’d like to do on my day. I told him the truth. I look forward to Monday morning’s contest between Bob and Jenny over who gets to wish me “Happy Birthday” first. Last year Bob had to wake me at dawn to get the edge. Afterward I’ll go work. In the evening, I’d like to sustain our Monday night routine of grocery shopping with drink in hand (bless you Mariano’s) as we talk and laugh.
There have been years filled with mounds of material presents when all I really wanted was the sort of satisfying, messy normalcy (punctuated by much lovable oddity) I savor every day because of two babies born nine days apart in August 1980. There’s nothing more the world can give me to guarantee health and success over the next 12 months that I wasn’t already gifted 36 years ago this week.