Monday, September 28, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!

Since it is my birthday today, I thought I would share some memorable moments in my life, some big, some small.
Favorite birthday? It wasn’t mine, but since it was my sons, and I gave birth to him, I think it counts. For his second birthday I bought him, The Birthday Bird by Dr. Seuss.
My daughter, who’s seventeen months older than him, was much more invested in the book than he was. My husband was reading the book to the kids, just after dinner, and when he got to the following line:

“Then, the moment the Horn’s happy honk honk is heard,
Comes a fluttering flap flap. And then comes THE BIRD!”

we howled! In sync, both of us had the image of being the recipients of a rude gesture. Our children looked at us in confusion as we struggled to get ourselves under control. Phew! When we finally did, a few pages later Dr. Seuss mentions how on your special day the bird arrives and off you go to Katroo.

Well, our daughter was beside herself in glee! Had we been to Katroo? What did we do? Did we do all things promised in this book, did we fly, did we soar, did we cook?

Still in quite a silly mood from “THE BIRD” incident, my husband wove an elaborate tale about his trip to Katroo. Her eyes were riveted on him. In all the discussion of the celebrations and amazingness of Katroo, it occurred to our three and a half year old that her brother hadn’t been Katroo that day. A few minutes later, after more weaving of tales, we convinced her that  because there are so many children, you only get to go once. Her dad had been, but I had not. She asked me when I thought my turn would come. I shrugged, wanting to convey a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about the experience. I needed to buy us some time.

I knew this beautiful girl was going to ask me every birthday for the next five or so years when her turn would be… I must report that she figured it out, shared the news with her brother, and as I expected, they were more than a little bummed.

Wouldn’t it be great if it were true? That a technicolor bird showed up, flew you to some fantastical land where all your favorite foods waited for you, after being welcomed by trumpets!

So… what song heralded me in that day? Barry McGuire’s, Eve of Destruction was at to the top of the charts. I kid you not. I just watched the video on YouTube and it is just too sad and awful to post. Suffice it to say that the Vietnam War was taking place, on the news, and on the minds of everyone in the world. Since I don’t want to think of that, I will choose one of my own. Tell me if you think I made a good replacement! When I think of how people were responding to the world then, the evolution amazes me. Are things perfect? No. But, better in some respects. I love what this song conveys.

Who do I share my birthday with? Confucius, Herman Melville, Georges Clemenceau, Mira Sorvino, Gwenyth Paltrow, Ed Sullivan, Marcello Matstroianni, Bridget Bardot and Janeane Garofolo, to name a few. I think that is an excellent assortment of fine individuals – now I can imagine all of us, scattered across the world (and throughout time) blowing birthday candles out!

What was my favorite childhood TV show? Hands down, Family Ties.
But, before they had a fourth child. I got completely confused at that point.

Who/What did I think I would be when I grew up? I was never one of those people who understood certainty, I perceive(d) life as a series of experiences. Somehow I understood that I would be many things. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast…” so I hold on tightly to the tilt-a-whirl of life and take things in and add them to the kaleidoscope of experiences. Including my daughters vision of birthdays. Life is often as colorful as the world of Katroo, and when it's not, I feel like I am in a different Dr. Seuss book.

What piece of advice can I offer? Read The Birthday Bird, because it reminds us of how we should herald in our birthdays, then read The Places You’ll Go, because no matter hold old you get, you are on your way to somewhere.

Happy Birthday to me, and thanks for reading!