you were a little baby very long ago
As most anyone reading this knows, I come from a sprawling bunch that's sort of half Addams family and half Louisa May Alcott's March family. 3 sisters, me, mom, stepdad, dad, stepmom, uncles, aunts, cousins, shirt tail cousins, best friends, former bandmates, grannies, friends we didn't know were cousins until years after we bonded - you get the idea. With this many of us, we've got birthdays and odd little celebrations scattered throughout the year. But for my core group, the folks I sat down to dinner with most nights growing up, birthday season is upon us.
Today, my baby sister hits 19 and granny's marking 81. Sis is a bright, smiling, singing girl. I believe she once called herself the white sheep of the family. She got dad's natural physical abilities - no training wheels for her bike, no sir, and the day she got her first rollerblades she was going up and down stairs in them. (Me, I think if man was meant to roll on wheels we'd been born with them.) As a preschooler, she used to like to do pull ups on whatever was handy - the freezer door, monkey bars, my outstretched arm. Well, it turns out that translates to musical ability, too. I can't carry a tune in a two handled bucket, but she took to the mando like a hamster to cheery tomatoes. She's aced her first year at FSU. All this, and she's so damn sweet natured that you can't hate her for it.
Granny's on the other side of life, looking back. And, I tell you what, I know people in their 50s that aren't half as healthy or on top of things as she is. She still drives her little red nu-bug around town (although, to be honest, she is the only person that I, grandpa driver that I am, have ever been behind in traffic and found myself thinking, God damn it, please speed up!). She could stand on her head into her 60s, and would for her grandkids' entertainment and delight. She walks daily, travels the world when she can, and tells crazy stories about my alcoholic biograndfather when I take her out to lunch from time to time.
Next up in the birthday play list comes my sister May (guess what month), then myself two weeks after. One of my greatest pleasures comes from throwing great big parties, complete with a keg of beer, a table of food, show-style fliers as invitations, and usually some theme I can force on my friends. (Pirates for my 30th, for example. I need to figure out what I'll throw together for this year.) And so on, through the summer.
When we were kids, birthdays always involved spreading a sheet on the lawn for an outside supper; juicy juice (a real treat for us hippie kids); a friend or two over to spend the night; books and outdoorsy toys; and a cake by request. One year May figured out she could get two key lime pies from mom - one for her own pleasure, one for the rest of us.
Birthday season, I love it! Bring on the shrimp salad and red velvet cake!