Birthdays. Love them or hate them, whether or not we want to admit it we all have them. Yesterday I celebrated another spin around the sun with my two favorite people.
Don and Ashley took me to Leonardo's II, a local restaurant where Lamberti's used to be. We had our favorite server, Marta, and bumped into our neighbors, Bob, Dave and Liz, which added to the local feeling of the night.
Birthdays always make me feel a little nostalgic. I thought about writing this post last year when I interviewed for a job, which I did not get. I thought that year would be marked by my re-entry into the work force. I was only off by a year.
On my birthday I started a new job as a one-month school librarian in the Princeton Public Schools. While it is only for one month (the librarian they hired needed to give her former district 60 days notice, beginning in early August), it is still a huge step for me. This will be my first time going to a job every day since before Ashley was born. It is also my first professional library position since earning my MLIS degree in 2008. My emotions are running from excited to scared stiff, and can shift fairly quickly.
Back to birthdays. Four years ago I was turning a milestone age that ends in a
0. Dave and Lisa made a dream of dining in Club 33 a reality (Club 33 is an invitation only restaurant in Disneyland). On that trip something life-changing happened -- I met a woman who planted the seed in me that I could actually run a half-marathon. Four years ago I didn't even own a pair of sneakers, yet this stranger believed in me. Last weekend I completed the Disneyland Half Marathon for the second time, and also the 10K the day before.
That same year my family and friends threw a "Ladies' Only" surprise tea in my honor at my parents' house. It was a treat seeing everyone so relaxed because they left their kids at home.
Another life altering year was in 2002 when I started graduate school on my birthday with a teacher I later learned was starting her career at Rutgers on her birthday. We've since become birthday buddies. Hard to believe that was 11 years ago.
As with everyone, some birthdays have been better than others. I remember weeping when Princess Diana's funeral took place on my birthday, just as I had cheered when she and Prince Charles got married. It didn't matter that our paths had never crossed. It just was. I also remember going to a viewing on my birthday for someone from our former church.
A truly rough one for me was walking Ashley to kindergarten on my birthday. Ashley and I have a tradition of celebrating my birthday together -- either by going out to breakfast, or out for ice cream depending on whether or not she has school that day. This year she took me out for ice cream at the Purple Cow -- just us two girls.
I remember celebrating with Don in Italy when I turned 30-something. Nearly got run over by a car that day when we walked a couple of miles from our hotel into town (we were on a tour group, but ditched the tour group that day), but had an amazing dinner of gnocchi at a tiny Italian restaurant in the mountains.
Growing up I remember a birthday party at a mini-golf place and a trip to the Statue of Liberty. We always had a family party, too.
I have had a couple of conversations recently with people about the perfect time of year to have a birthday. Late-December is bad because it coincides with Christmas. That sort of idea. In my mind, growing up early September was bad because I never quite new the new school year rules for birthday parties -- do we still have them? What do people bring in? I was always the first birthday of the year.
On the other hand, I hardly ever went to school on my September 6th birthday because it often coincided with Labor Day weekend. Back in those days, Paramus schools started the Wednesday after Labor Day. I only had three chances out of seven to go to school on my birthday. Not bad odds.
On my 10th birthday I was supposed to go to school on my birthday when Hurricane David hit knocking out our power and blocking us in the house when two separate neighbors had trees knocked into the middle of the street. I remember opening my presents by candlelight. Ironically, I received a tape recorder, but had no way to plug it in. ;) (I think it also ran on batteries, just thought it was a funnier story the first way.)
As the years go by, there will be more birthdays and hopefully many, many more celebrations.