When I was a kid, my birthday always disappointed me.
Don’t get me wrong, I had great birthdays as a kid; fun birthday parties, my favorite meal for dinner, super awesome birthday presents. No, I did okay when it came to birthdays. When I say that my birthday disappointed me, I mean the day that my birthday fell on (March 4th) always disappointed me.
See, I thought that since my birthday falls in March, a spring month, the day of my birthday should be spring-like. The weather should be warm, flowers should be blooming, the sky should be blue, the sun should be shining. Never mind that on February 28th in southern Michigan there was usually a good 2-3′ of snow on the ground; on March 1st the weather would instantly click over to the “Spring” setting and the snow should start melting in the 60 degree weather. By the time my birthday came on the 4th, I should be able to have my birthday parties in the backyard, surrounded by a colorful garden. I should be able to dance around barefoot in the green grass while wearing a crown of flowers. It should be a perfect, sunny, bluebird day, because it was my birthday.
And I think that’s really why I so badly wanted a perfect spring birthday: because if Disney taught me anything, it’s that things are only truly happy and magical in springtime. Think about it. When Aurora takes her magical walk through the forest to collect berries and sing with her forest friends, she didn’t have to grab a coat or come back in because it turns out she’s going to need her galoshes. When Cinderella and the Prince take a romantic stroll through the palace gardens, her makeup isn’t running because it’s 103 degrees out and she’s sweating her nuts off under 53 layers of taffeta. Even when it does rain in a Disney movie, (which usually indicates that either someone has died or the villain is coming,) it’s that gentle, warm, romantic spring rain, instead of gray, cold, half-sleet rain that frequents mid-Michigan in early March. I wanted that same magic for my birthday. Every March 4th I would wake up and look out my bedroom window at the woods next to the house, completely expecting to see the snow gone and soft green buds poking out of the branches. Instead, without fail, I saw the same motherfucking snow I’d been staring at for the last 5 months. And without fail, I would be disappointed, because it meant that my birthday wasn’t going to be as magical as I always hoped. I wanted to be a princess on my birthday.
Today is my birthday. I am 26 years old.
Twenty March 4ths later, I now understand that much like in Michigan, the March 4ths of upstate New York will never be sun-shiney and Disney-like. That just ain’t how shit works. I’m also not exactly a Disney princess either, (unless I’m forgetting about a Disney princess that wore combat boots, belched, and liked to play Mario Kart while drunk off of Rum & Cokes,) so the crappy weather isn’t quite as inappropriate as I used to think.
Besides, there are other things that make my day magical. Super delicious dinner with Kyle at my favorite restaurant. Sweet, thoughtful, (and surprisingly generous) birthday cards from family. An avalanche of well-wishes from friends via Facebook. Oh, and did I mention the totally badass birthday gifts I’ve gotten so far? (Kyle says there’s more coming.) But so far:
Super awesome military-inspired ski jacket from in-laws and grandparent-in-laws.
And totally hot steampunk earrings from Kyle.
(Which, by the way, he bought off of Etsy after seeing them on my Pinterest board. +100 Husband Points for Kyle.)
Plus monies from Aunt-in-law and Grandma to be spent on something-awesome-to-be-named-later.
So even though there’s no robins landing on my shoulder with gifts of wildflowers or walking barefoot in the grass, I think there’s enough magic to be had today. It comes in knowing that for one day, I am reminded of how lucky I am to be loved by so many wonderful people. It comes in reflecting on all the unpredictable and wonderful places that 26 years of life have taken me. It comes in wondering in amazement at all the difficulties and challenges that 26 years of life have presented me with and that I have through persistence, skill, dumb luck, and the support of people who love me been able to tackle and overcome. It comes in reflecting on the places where I faltered or failed, and gleaning what lessons and experience I can from them. It comes in speculating where the life I can’t predict will possibly take me next. And that, ladies and gentlemen, makes me feel like a Disney princess, even if I am still unshowered and wearing flannel. (Or by the time this post publishes, at work lighting a jazz show.)
(Though a little damn sunshine wouldn’t hurt, either.)