This is my 38th birthday. Or 37th. I’m 38, but like with centuries and Daylight Savings Time I have to stop and think for a minute about which is accurate. I can be slow on the uptake like that. So far this has been a fairly happy birthday, as most of mine have been. Being born in late May almost guarantees a good birthday weatherwise, and if you’re anything like me a sunny day can make up for just about any other flaws a 24-hour period can hold. If you’re going to shout at me, fire me or steal my car just make sure it’s sunny outside.
Anyway, back to the birthdays I remember. I think it’s funny that after so many of them I can only recall a few with clarity. And they’re not always the ones you think.
The first birthday I remember clearly was my third. I remember it because it’s the first time I remember being embarassed. Whenever I read Genesis and get to that part–fairly early on–about the newly-sinful Adam and Eve realising they were naked and then being ashamed I remember my third birthday. Because that was the first realisation I had of shame. My grandparents were there and I was playing with a Snoopy Colorforms set. My grandfather asked me if I was happy to be turning three. I replied–honestly–that I wasn’t because now the doctor was going to take my temperature in my mouth instead of my bottom and I didn’t like that idea. At least I was honest.
My fourth birthday had no relatives–I wonder why–but it was still pretty cool. In more ways than one. My Family Mark II (Dad, Mom, Kathy, Poopy Monkeyhead Brother) had a Kentucky Fried Chicken picnic in Shoaff Park. The picnic table was in a shady grove of trees, so it was chilly. I remember being so sad about the cold. I guess my sunshine love was programmed early on, huh? The best part about the day was the dollhouse my dad had set up on the picnic table to surprise me. I still remember it today. It was a tin colonial with plastic windows. Don’t you love the internet? Here I am writing about a dim distant memory, and a few clicks later I’ve found a picture to link to! Of course, the fact that it’s “vintage” makes me squirm a bit.
I don’t remember my fifth birthday entirely, which is odd because there was a big party. The rule of my Family Mark III (FMII + Sister B) was that we got a big party every five years. My fifth had a purple and yellow donkey pinata but I remember it not at all. In fact the only reason I do remember it was because I was inspired to draw a picture of the whole setup on the inside of one of my favourite books. For years I’d read that book and see the crayon rendering of a long table with a cake and some other food over which hung a giant creature suspended between two trees. Since that was also the year Jaws came out–and I was terrified of that shark, knowing that it lived in my dark closet at night–I also drew a picture of the upward swimming shark inside the same book cover. I swear it looked for all the world like Jaws was eating my birthday party.
My eighth birthday was on a Sunday. I hated Sunday birthdays as a kid because you always had to go to church before presents. I remember complaining to my parents about it and being told that we went to church for Jesus, to which I wondered why Jesus never had to go to church on his birthday when he was a kid and since he didn’t why should I. We did have a special lunch, though. We had my Uncle Bob and Aunt Mary Ann and their family over and grilled hamburgers and I got my Weebles Treehouse.
And it was sunny.
I love sunny birthdays.