Lest my previous post imply that I don’t appreciate the efforts of others on my birthday, never fear! I want to take a moment to describe my absolute favorite birthday memory, and why it is so important to me.
Hands down: December 2008. I graduated from college the prior summer, and promptly moved back in with my mom. I was broke, had minimal job prospects, and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life now that I was out of school. A common tale!
It was a massively full house (I think we peaked at a dozen people including my baby sister, baby niece, somebody’s friend living in the garage at any given time, various significant others), and my old room was now occupied by my older sister and her boyfriend. Everyone was struggling financially, so were all piled together to make ends meet. Sort of a, “None of us is doing great but you’ll always have a place to stay” mentality. I mean, OH BOY, we had some serious 12-people-in-a-house blowups that I won’t get into here, but now that we are all scattered it just means there are multiple couches available to crash on in hard times. And, at the time, we were very lucky to still have a house.
I lived in the dining room.
So, to get to the point. My birthday rolled around and I wasn’t expecting anything. If I recall correctly, this was the first year of the Secret Santa, born of the desire for everyone to get at least one thoughtful present, if we couldn’t do anything else.
My mother, brother, and sisters chipped in for a pile of little presents, just to show they hadn’t forgotten my birthday. A couple of books, some chocolates, some amazingly fuzzy socks, a tiny baby monkey toy that coos and waves its arms, handmade cards. Things that wouldn’t be particularly special, except that nobody could afford a thing and it was a gesture to show they cared.
I love getting things off my wish list (obviously I put them on there because I can’t justify splurging on myself!). And I love anything that is thoughtful and shows the gifter knows me well enough to know what I like. But I will always have a fond memory of this damn birthday bowl, because it encapsulates the bright spot that was my family in what turned out, for many reasons, to be the worst year of my life. I love you guys!!