Birthday Memories

I originally posted this as a facebook status, because I feel the need to be shamelessly wordy in ALL forms of media. It felt like it also belonged here.

Birthday memories:

Turning 20 in a bowling alley surrounded by drunken Amish and college students who hadn’t slept in days. Being serenaded  by Josh and twirled and laughing so hard I couldn’t remember what not laughing felt like. Being bad at bowling, of course, but surrounded by people who were worse at bowling, which made it relatively not so pathetic. Singing Lion King and Lady Gaga and confusing Tom, who ran the bowling alley, by shouting all the wrong words.

The 17th birthday surprise party that ended up being not so surprising. When Abby called from the car and asked for directions to my house, even though I had no idea that anyone was coming over. Pizza and musicals and my mother rolling her eyes as we danced along to movies we’d watched enough to memorize. Being with people who knew me so well that I didn’t understand how life had existed before them or how it would after them. Way, way too many cookies.

My 18th birthday, when my dad gave me the letter that made me cry, that I still have today. A dinner surrounded by all my family and my best friends. Knowing that high school was almost over and things were starting and ending and coming to in betweens. Feeling scared and safe in equal measures. Feeling new and somehow the same.

When I turned 16 somewhere in downtown DC at a NFTY event and 300 people sang to me, and I had to do the skip around the room, even though I’ve never been good at skipping. Spending all day surrounded by friends and friendly strangers, learning and growing and having fun. The kind host family who made me cookies, and the kids from camp who gave me gifts. Leading services with people I admired and spending time with people I was so excited to know. A phone call home that concerned my parents- they figured I’d be too busy to check in.

Turning 19, somewhere in College Park, with my parents and my friends from high school. I was sick then, and trying so hard to get better. They hugged me and told me funny stories. I tried really hard to laugh.

My 21st birthday in the middle of nowhere with pineapple cake and goofy cartoons. Homemade cards and booze bought at Walmart. Trying so hard to make the cashier card me. Getting annoyed when he refused. Feeling like I had a community of people who cared. Laughing when Erin was confused by my calling my mother from the liquor aisle. Laughing even harder when mom put us on speaker phone from the bar.

Today I turn 22, and I don’t know what the day will hold. Lunch with the family. Homework. A lot of texts in all caps, and Max singing Taylor Swift to me every hour. I’m ready for 22. I’m ready for a new year and new beginnings and new adventures. I think this one is going to be good. 

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