Birthday memories

August 23, 1977

I can never remember the story of the day I was born. Maybe because I like hearing it told over and over again, so I try not to submit the details to memory, because I want it to be fresh each time. I know my father fought a fire that night. He was a volunteer fireman for years, always making abrupt exits to do what he could for others. I can never remember if the fire was before or after I was born. I’m pretty sure it was after, but I think I just like the image of my dad holding me in my fresh white blanket with soot on his face as if he just rescued me from a burning building. I know, it’s not very hygenic, but whatevs.

Sometimes my siblings and I get my dad to tell us about our births, because though his memory is pretty awful, he’s convinced it’s just fine. This is particularly entertaining if my mom happens to be within earshot to shake her head at his storytelling. He says I came out in two pushes, that my mother barely made it to the delivery room. Her side of that is a little bit different, but the one thing she maintains is that she didn’t want to leave the hospital. With two children at home, the second of which was a terror (Hi, Sis!), she felt like she was on vacation at the hospital, and when it was time to be discharged, she begged them to let her stay.

August 23, 1988

My eleventh birthday will never be forgotten, because it was the first ever Dolby event documented on video. My sister commentated as five friends and I tore around my parents’ house quoting lines from Stand By Me and harassing the dog.

August 23, 1998

I turned 21 the day after Dave graduated from college. This means after drinking keg beer ALL DAY Saturday (his graduation was at 11 a.m., over by noon, so really, ALL DAY), we drove down to the Vineyard the next morning to have a party with the fam. I did Jell-o shots with my grandmother and then hit the town. I remember drinking Rolling Rock the whole night even though I hated Rolling Rock. Yeah, I can’t explain that one.

August 23, 2002

That morning, I took my coffee with milk, sugar, and diamond. I had said to Dave a while before this, after hearing a particularly convoluted engagement story, that it surprised me more people didn’t just do it right at the kitchen table. A wedding is a celebration of the time you’ve spent together and a promise to continue, so why not make that commitment right where your life together takes place – among the leftovers and the dirty dishes? He did not get on one knee, and he did not pull out a velvet box. He pulled a ring out of his pocket and asked the question, and I heartily accepted.

August 23, 2003

We met in the hollow, I, weaving down through the garden, and you approaching from the dock, with the sailboats floating peacefully by behind you, the air thick with the smell of Casablanca lilies, and the sky a blue so blue it’s never to be repeated. I was so nervous. I was afraid I’d cry or pass out or start shaking – I don’t know – but when I saw you, I laughed. It was you. How could I be scared? I took your hands and repeated my lines, and you yours, even though they were a foregone conclusion.

Happy birthday-versary to me!


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