Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fabulous Birthdays Through the Years

The most beautiful birthday flowers in the world.

You may have heard that today is my birthday. It's true. I'm 25. Wait, that part might not be true.

Over the years, I'm had some pretty extraordinary birthdays.

Because my birthday is in mid-June, it always fell right after school let out for the summer. Many years, we would hop on a plane on June 15th and I'd wake up at Nana's house on my birthday. I'd come downstairs for a special birthday breakfast with the whole family and then usually off to the beach. I grew up believing the only way to celebrate my birthday was to go on vacation.

My 18th birthday arrived just days after my high school graduation. Nana was in town for the big occasion and I got three of my girlfriends together and we all went into Chicago for lunch and a Wendella boat ride. It was freezing cold (even colder than it was today), overcast and windy and although we were dressed warmly, the wind still made it uncomfortable. Nana asked the Wendella folks if they had any big plastic garbage bags that we could use as rain/wind slickers. It was actually a great idea!

Janet, Cheryl, Me, and Cindy (l-r) on the Wendella Boats using plastic garbage bags to block the wind.
Yes, I gave Sally Jessy Rapheal her glasses back.

I celebrated my 20th birthday at Watervale and because this is supposedly a family blog, I can't describe the debauchery that ensued. Let's just say that it didn't hurt things at all that the Bulls had just won their first NBA Championship.

In 1992, I turned 21 with the help of my good friends Heather and Emilie, and Michael, Scottie, and the rest of the Chicago Bulls. Heather and I spent the day in Chicago at the Bulls Championship Rally in Grant Park and then window shopping on the Mag Mile. After taking the train back to Lake Forest, I drank at The Lantern for the first time. That was also the year Dave surprised me with the sterling silver pendant he made of the two of us. An incredible day.

1993 found me in Washington DC without my friends or family. I spent the day wandering around Georgetown and then watched the Bulls win Game 4 of the NBA Finals over the Phoenix Suns on a date. Of course, the Bulls went on to win their third NBA Championship days later.

I spent my 25th birthday reading the subliminal messages Michael was sending me through his stellar performance in the winning game of the Bulls 4th NBA Championship.

I turned 27 in 1998 and was in Chicago for the Bulls 6th and final NBA Championship. The night before my birthday, Christopher and I were in the stands at Wrigley Field watching Kerry Wood pitch a nailbiter and Sammy Sosa start his home run streak by hitting 3 that night as they beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5. On my birthday, I celebrated with a few hundred thousand of my closest friends in Grant Park as we celebrated the Bulls and witnessed the end of an era. When I arrived back in DC on the 17th, I was surprised by my friends at a party at the rooftop bar at the Hotel Washington.

When I turned 30, Dave surprised me by flying to Chicago for the weekend. My dad also came to town and when I got up that morning, my lawn was filled with 30 plastic pink flamingos! I'm sorry I don't have pictures.

And then there was today. Today was fabulous. Words can't express my gratitude for all the joy and love I felt today. I got to talk to Nana, which was the highlight of my day. I heard from friends all over the country and friends in my neighborhood. God, I love the birthday reminder on Facebook! Emails even poured in tonight from my mom's childhood friends! Local friends surprised me with many delights. And my dad started his new job today.

I have had some amazing birthdays throughout the years, but today was the best. My gratitude list is long and I'm putting my head on my pillow tonight secure in the knowledge of who I love and who loves me. Words can't begin to express how full my heart is tonight.

Thank you.

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