With time I’ve seen more loved ones approach birthdays in a self-deprecating way. Some don’t want to acknowledge the age, or don’t want to celebrate, or forget to.
My birth day could be categorized as a story of time. I was due on March 15th but my mom hoped for earlier, partly because it’s the Ides of March and partly because she wanted me to be born before her birthday, March 14th. She wanted to have me at age 30, not 31.
So, naturally, I was eight days late. And after so much waiting – big, uncomfortable, so ready – it all happened fast. Dad wanted to stop for coffee at QuikTrip, he jokes he wanted to hang in the La-Z-Boy chair in the hospital room. Instead, he ran all the red lights, barely parking and making it upstairs. Nineteen minutes from our arrival I was brought into the world by our nurse, Kathy, who my parents loved. She said she always listened to her patients. My mom was so appreciative of that.
Dad says he still can visualize it, exactly what I looked like. They both said then that I didn’t look more like either one of them, that I looked like myself. They echo this today, telling me to just be the best, most lit up version of me.
They say it’s the most amazing thing on the planet, you can’t even describe the wonder and awe. And that they remember looking at my fingers and toes, just holding my hands and looking at how long my fingers were. My black hair and blue eyes. My sister got an “I’m a big sister” pin and my grandparents came. The three who are still with us will be together again at my wedding this spring. That’s the thing about time, sometimes it comes full circle, skips backward and forward, is shared across generations. My mom was born the exact same way, with Grandpa hardly parking the car in time. I think about how much we share.
In an individualistic culture, birthdays are specifically dedicated to the person born. Why aren’t they more about the parents? The family, the ones who remember it, those people whose lives are changed inextricably by this exact person born, their specific life and the precise manner it unfolds. We share this life from the beginning. Eventually, these memories become emphasized and eclipsed by something bigger than the individual events themselves: the people who comprise them. A birthday is so much more than the year before and after it. For this reason, my birthday will never be about me.
BY Bre Arends - March 24, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.