This morning, before Amanda left, she asked me what I was going to do on this, my last day being twenty-seven. My response isn’t terribly exciting and it doesn’t smack of carpe diem: I’m going to have breakfast with a friend, coffee with another friend, write (I hope), read, and tonight we’ll go to a friend’s promotion party.
It’s not that birthdays cease to be a big deal – it’s always good to celebrate your life and the way it grows and evolves – but something changes as we get older: our birthdays aren’t quite the events they once were.
In some ways, this is a good, decent, wonderful evolution. For instance, adults are spared the horror of playing these games:
Potato sack races
And probably the worst of all childhood birthday games: pin the tail on the donkey.
Worse than a bounce house? Than face painting? Than messy pony rides that stink up the yard for days?
At my fifth birthday, we played pin the tail on the donkey. Blindfolded, my mother spun me in a few circles and pushed me off in what I thought was the right direction. But I was wrong. I stumbled about blindly, the tail in my small hand, wandering towards the wall… or what I thought was the wall. I ended up in the kitchen. Scandalized and furious, I cried (or at least, I remember crying), horrified that my mother (my own mother! she’ll read this and appreciate that I’m once again throwing her under the bus – hi Mom!) did not gently guide me to the donkey, but rather let me wander away in the feverish madness of donkey search.
We grow up, though. We grow out of games and into slumber parties, and those are worse than pig the tail on the damn donkey any day of the week. Men may not know the horror that is slumber parties, but many women will: the giggling and shrieking; the high stakes (you have to stay up ALL NIGHT and if you don’t stay up ALL NIGHT then we’ll [dunk your hand in warm water so you’ll pee on yourself; draw on your face; put toothpaste in your hair; whatever]; it always ended with someone in tears, usually me, and headaches that weren’t natural of a child my age.
Thankfully, my birthdays have only become more sedate. No flailing around the foyer trying to locate donkey butt. No smelly bounce houses. No hands dipped in warm water while the unsuspecting victim sleeps.
So for my last day being twenty-seven, I will celebrate the fact that I’m turning twenty-eight instead of five, or ten, or the dread sixteen. Though I will say this: I wouldn’t hate some twisted party streamers, because nothing says celebration like draping those across the room.