My fella and I have many things in common; our palate for food, our appreciation of a good playground swing, our aversion to crowds. And while we are different enough to keep things interesting, these commonalities make for an easy and pleasant coexistence.
An unexpected thing we share, however, is that our parents’ birthdays are nearly the same. We each have a parent born on the 29th of April and then another each on May 4th and May 6th. I find this remarkable. Which is why I’m remarking on it because, really, what are the chances of that? I mean, the chances of us both having parents is pretty much a given but with the same birthdays? Anyway, you get my point.
Besides the strangeness of it all, this is highly convenient because it means my guy will never forget their birthdays because I never forget a birthday. Some people are good with names; many more are good with faces. I am good with remembering birthdays. This is a relatively useless aptitude unless, of course, you’re on my list of people I celebrate each year.
When discussing the Iron Man films, for example, repeatedly mentioning that I share a birthday with Robert Downy, Jr. has never once – to the best of my knowledge – enhanced anyone’s viewing experience. I do keep bringing it up, though, just in case. You never know. Nor has mentioning the fact that my man shares his birthday with Denzel Washington because, let’s face it, Denzel was already pretty cool before folks knew this fun factoid.
But there you have it; I excel at remembering birthdays. I might not know exactly how old you are, but if I’ve ever been made aware of your special day, there is a pretty good chance I’ll remember it forever more.
Which gets me back to the point that this is parental birthday season in our house and I would like to raise a toast to these fine people in good health, good wishes and love.
My mom and dad turn 85 and 89, respectively, this year and I have to say that their indefatigable minds continue to impress me. Both of my parents have had physical issues – hell, most people over 30 have had physical issues – but they remain sharp and witty and wise. And definitely wise-ass and for this I am grateful. One thing for certain is that a conversation with either of my parents, even today, is never boring and I always learn something new.
I thank these two remarkable humans for having shaped me into who I am today. Their collective experiences, expectations and world-views framed our childhood and two of the best gifts they gave us were regular visits to the library, with the endless questions we could seek answers to in books, and their legacy of travel.
My parents asked for money instead of gifts at their wedding and set off on a cross-Atlantic adventure that would result in them living for four years in Spain and then ending up in New Mexico and, eventually, California. Their wanderlust took them a long distance from their hometown of Detroit, Michigan, in more ways than just locale. They were – and continue to be – curious about the world and always wanting to know more and for this, above all, I admire them.
We may not have been perfect children (although, we’re pretty darned close!) but we have all grown into inquisitive adults who have ventured far beyond our comfort zones throughout our rich lives.
For this, and so much more, I thank my parents (and my fella’s parents as well!) and wish them each a heartfelt Happy Birthday in the knowledge that they are loved.
(This piece was first published here on May 4th, 2014 – re-posting an updated version because we are blessed to still have these people around!)