Birthdays and how we feel about them.

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Children are usually pretty excited about birthdays. Part of the reason is that they seem to take forever to get there when you’re little. JJ is five years old. When he turns six, each year will be a sixth of his life. It feels to him like each birthday takes a lifetime to arrive. He waits for the birthday, the party, the dream of candles.

Our kids were always allowed to pick favorite food for parties. When Amy was three, she wanted rice and broccoli. The parents just couldn’t believe it when all their little three year olds dived into their bowls of rice, broccoli and soy sauce followed by a birthday cake with three candles. The kids liked the rice; they were too young to know that they deserved pizza and hotdogs.

But pretty soon our kids started asking for sushi. Every year they wanted all you can eat sushi for their birthdays so Mark learned how to make it. There was always at least one plate with deadly hot sushi which the kids would dare each other to try. It would have hot sauce that would make hair grow on your chest. But there were always lots of sushi rolls too.

My daughter’s birthday is on Halloween, so there were some really epic parties at our house with some great play lists and the dancing would go on and on into the night. When the kids were small, they would carve pumpkins, when they got bigger, it was all about the dancing and sushi.

So presents and parties are pretty exciting when you are a kid. Some people when they get to be adults say things like, I don’t really need anything for my birthday. You don’t have to get me anything. I would never, never say that. I didn’t get any presents until I was maybe twenty-five, so I want people to work overboard now to make up for my deprived childhood. I don’t need expensive stuff, I just like someone giving me something so I know that a celebration is taking place. Mostly I just like to feel that people are thinking good thoughts about me. That makes me glad that I am alive in the world and that I am loved.

Some people get old enough that they don’t want to party any more; they’re ashamed of their age. That’s not happening for me. I plan to keep the party going as long as I live. When I’m eighty, I’m going to be dancing on the table. It might be a low table and it might be in low heels, but I’ll still be table dancing. I say, birthday parties are always worth having. Celebrate being alive and being loved. Tonight we had dinner in San Diego with Ilya Kaminsky and his wife Katie Farris. The food was good and the company was perfect. There was flaming dessert and we talked about life and poetry.

Published in: on April 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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