Archive for the ‘September Birthdays’ Category

Image      I’ve had some awesome birthdays, I’ve had some stinky birthdays.  Mostly, because of where my birthday falls on the calendar, I’ve had more than my fair share of beautiful birthdays, weather-wise.  Late September can almost always be counted upon to be lovely, as close to perfect as it gets, here in the Northeast.  It tends to be sunny with temperatures in the upper 60’s to mid 70’s.  Softball weather, I used to call it, back before I wrecked my Achilles tendon and could actually play.

The only thing I remember about my 4th birthday is how I somehow misbehaved at my little party and my mother, chasing me up the stairs trying to gently swat my butt with a metal slotted spoon because she couldn’t find the wooden one she usually used, more as a scare tactic than an actual weapon of punishment.  I can still feel the tiny taps through my frilly dress as she herded me to my room, no doubt for a short time out.  She was a single mother at the time, stressed about money, working full time, trying to raise three girls with little help.  Still, she never resorted to serious corporal punishment, even though there were times, I’m sure, that she wanted to.

On my ninth birthday, I think my grandfather finally had me figured out.  He was terminally ill with lung cancer, but living with us and experiencing some good moments as far as his strength was concerned.  He drove his long black Cadillac to the store while I was at school and after dinner that evening he presented me with one birthday gift I will remember as long as I live.  I opened the box and found a football, complete with hand pump so it could always be properly inflated, and a red football helmet that I put on instantly and wanted to wear forever.  It was 1967.  He died just a few short months later.

The celebration of my 23rd birthday started in the wee hours of the morning, after I had finished spinning disco and early new wave dance music for the tourists at the New Orleans Hilton, in a nightclub on the 29th floor where, through the windows that circled the place, I had a nearly 360 degree view of the twinkling Crescent City and the mighty Mississippi.  Back then vinyl was king and I was mixing Disco Inferno into Instant Replay into Get Up And Boogie into Walk Right Now Into Super Freak into Shame into Call Me into Private Idaho into Whip It, six nights a week.  The bar closed at 3.  A bartender from South Carolina named Kimmer took me to some gay bars and I, to this day a lightweight drinker, got plastered on Long Island Iced Teas.  When we parked outside the second bar it was after 5am and the signs all said No Parking 9am-4pm.  I thought for sure we’d be okay because, even when you’re celebrating your 23rd birthday and you don’t have to be in at work again until 9 that night, there’s no way you’ll still be in that bar drinking by the time the parking spot becomes illegal, right?   Well, we walked out of the bar at 9:05 to find my car, my sweet 1970 Plymouth Duster, already attached to the tow truck.  I remember pleading with the operator, saying something idiotic like, “You can’t tow my car, it’s my birthday!”  The burly guy in work gloves just laughed and went on with his task.  Kimmer and I got the car back hours later, from the impound lot.  And when I think back on it now, I’m glad my car got towed.  We were both too drunk to drive.

My 40th birthday was the worst of my life.  I was almost 5 months pregnant with Bea and experiencing some of the most intense uterine fibroid pain of my entire pregnancy.  To top it off, I had to spend almost the entire day at a hospital in Brooklyn, waiting while my ex underwent surgery and then couldn’t stop puking in recovery.  It rained all day, of course, which was so unusual because for my entire life up to that point I only had memories of glorious and sunny birthdays.

For eleven years now, though, the best part of my birthday has been sharing the day with my twins.  They were born in Viet Nam on the day that I turned 44.  “You say it’s your birthday.  It’s my birthday too, yeah,” I sing to them every September 30th, to their giggles and delight.  I have mostly convinced them that I no longer care about my birthday and that the day belongs to them.  I mean, it’s bad enough that they have to share it with each other.  Might as well take myself out of the equation so they can each have the most special day possible.  They’re turning 11 today.  I think once they get older they will more easily embrace the idea of the three of us sharing the day.

And now, it’s not even just the three of us.  Turns out little Leroy, Bea’s micro-teacup Yorkie, was also born on September 30th.  Crazy, I know.  And even though he’s in LA with Bea as she chases her dream of being a rock star, I find myself wishing I could give him a hug and a treat and a little kiss on the top of his hairy little head.  He’d be with Bea, of course, and oh how I wish, every day, but especially today, that I could hug her, too.

Happy birthday, Georgia.  Happy birthday, Esther.  Happy first birthday, little Leroy.  And yes, happy birthday me.

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