I’ve had this blog so long, I feel like I must have told all my stories already. However, it’s my blog, my birthday and I shall be indulged.
(I’m currently sitting behind right field at MCU Park in Coney Island watching the Brooklyn Cyclones take on something called “the Monsters” on Irish night. There are Irish line dancers doing a jig around the field while bag pipers bag pipe.) The only part of this setting that makes sense for this story is that it’s a temperate Brooklyn night on the eve of my birthday. For that is where my story begins…
You may find it hard to believe, but I wasn’t always a proponent of the birthday season. Sure, my earliest birthdays were elaborate affairs with multiple cakes and pinatas and games and prizes (my mother loves to remind me that one year I threw such a tantrum after losing at musical chairs that I had to be taken to a toy store where I could be bought a prize for coming in second. “And after that, I just bought a prize for you and a prize for the winner.” Damn straight, woman. It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.)
However, those were the halcyon days of 365 days a year day care center. All of my cousins were still in single digits and pinatas and cakes were exactly where they wanted to be.
But once I was properly in elementary school, it all fell apart. My cousins were teenagers, my classmates were away for the summer and my birthday became a hodge podge of whatever riff raff kids happened to still be in East Coco Beach come the second week of July. And then when this stupid girl caused me to crash my brand new bike at my tenth birthday party (she was trying to run alongside me and grabbed the handlebars once I hit the downhill slope) I had had quite enough.
“Nah, I don’t want a party this year,” ten-year-old Dawn declared in June. My mother shrugged. On the fourth of July, she said “are you sure?”
And that was that. My birthday became such a non event that *my mother* forgot my sixteenth! #rude (Oh, she’ll swear up and down that she did not, but then how come she didn’t say “happy birthday,” till after I was all “ahem. Um. Do you know what today is?” And then my “present” was a necklace that she dug out of her jewelry box. Uh huh.
But when I turned seventeen, I was working at a corporate law firm in Manhattan and HR arranged a surprise party for me, with an ice cream cake and everything! (OMG! A leprechaun is currently rounding the bases! I KID YOU NOT! He’s like two feet tall, y’all!! I’m transfixed!)
I worked at the same place again the following year, but there was no party, so I just went around subtly telling everyone it was my birthday till my boss took me and the other interns out to lunch.
(National anthem gives me goosebumps EVERY TIME!)
Where was I? Ah, yes, birthdays were making a comeback! We got derailed at 19 cause my birthday fell on the first day of camp, so I didn’t know anyone and then I fell off the stage during an improv performance. I rallied though, and pretended that I meant to do it. I didn’t. Ouchie.
(Update: turns out “the Monsters” are short for “The Vermont Lake Monsters.” I just booed their lead off batter. Incidentally, do you know what you can see from these seats behind right field? Right field. And a bit of center field. Also, the PA announcer just made the following annoucement “Will the owner of a maroon Chevy, plate number blah blah blah. Please report to the parking lot. Your lights are on, your windows are down, your car is running and your keys are inside.” O_o I guess I should mention they were giving away free jerseys to the first 3000 guests. I didn’t get one. Sadface. However, had I been quicker, I coulda gotten a free Chevy!)
I don’t remember my twentieth, but I do know that I was so stoked for my 21st! I had crazy plans, maaaan! I could finally drink! I made a list of all the places that gave out free drinks on your birthday and I would be damned if I wasn’t gonna hit every one!
And then do you know what happened? Do *YOU*?? My spiteful, vindictive, rude, mean-spirited grandmother died on July 3rd!
So on my awesome 21st birthday when I was *supposed* to be doing a free pub crawl, I was in a hot Baptist church in Panama *eulogizing* this woman! And since my family was now in mourning, we couldn’t play music, dance or be happy in any fashion. Do you know what that puts a damper on? My BIRTHDAY!
That woman was EVIL, I TELLS YA! EEEEEVVVUUUULLLLLL! That’s right, with a U! Hmph.
So, I was annoyed with birthdays again, because the following year was spent having her dumb year-dead memorial thingy.
(Ah, but I whined about my ruined birthday so loudly and frequently, that my college roommates threw me a surprise party in the middle of that December.)
And then…the summer I turned 24, I was again working at a New York law firm, but this time I was a summer associate, the corporate market was booming and they were totally in the “convince Dawn to come work here full time” business. (That business has, sadly, since gone under.)
I had a party at the top of the World Trade Center. Went to dinner at all the highest Zagat rated restaurants each workday in July. I was taken to plays and WNBA games. I got box seats to the subway series games… It was magic on a stick! And thus, the birthday season was born!
The following year, my mom threw her first birthday party for me in like 15 years. My cake had a water fountain! No, seriously. A working water fountain. And so the July birthday was redeemed. I see so many Cancers on twitter celebrating their July birthdays, that I know the modern-day youth do not suffer the fate of neglect so prevalent in my tween years.
(Aww, the right fielder just collided with the first baseman. Neither ended up catching the ball.)
Social media ensures that birthdays are no longer just for the lucky September through June set. As for me, I still have like nine years of missed birthdays to catch up on. Starting…..NOW!!
Happy Birthday me!!