I haven’t used my bedside clock-radio as an alarm for a couple of years now, but most days I still wake up with a song in my head. I don’t know why I have words and a tune in my head when I open my eyes. Often it’s a song that we sang in church that week, but sometimes it’s a surprise from the vaults – an unexpected appearance of a song I haven’t heard in 20 years. I did download a bunch of Jethro Tull songs over the weekend, though, so this morning I wasn’t shocked when the first thing through my head was “He was too old to rock and roll, but he was too young to die.”
The very next thing through my head was, “Hey – it’s my birthday!”
I tipped my mental hat to the sense of humor of my internal DJ, then tried to reassemble myself for the shuffle/limp/crick-crack into the bathroom. Time was when “it’s my birthday!” would be the first thing I thought of, and I’d be out of the bed like a skyrocket. Now I’m more like a NASA rocket straining to break free of the earth’s gravity, while dropping parts behind me. I still get there, though.
For all the anticipation I had for my birthdays when I was a kid, there’s not too many that stick out in my memory today. That will happen, I suppose, when there’s been so many of them. There was the party I had when I was in first grade when one of my strapping classmates bodily lifted my mother off of the ground. As I further recall, I think he was shaving by sixth grade and doing time by eighth. That was also the party where one of the girls in attendance threw up on the table during the cake and ice cream.
Another time I had the honor of sharing my birthday with the Tornado Super Outbreak in 1974 that ravaged the midwest. I think that party might have been held in our basement. Later, April 3, 1996 was also the day when Unabomber Ted Kaczynski was arrested in Montana, which explains why he didn’t make it to my party and never called. Perhaps most ingloriously, though, is that I share the same birthdate (day and year) with Hollywood nutjob Alec Baldwin. And I thought my inner DJ had a sense of humor.
Anyway, this morning I made it through my morning toilette without any especially profound thoughts or insights on mortality and went downstairs where my daughters soon joined me for their tributes (see Tiger Lilly’s previous post). The Mall Diva is still especially giddy about giving (and receiving) gifts, but it was nice to note that she has gained more self-control since the time when she was four-years-old and burst into my room with a gaily-wrapped box and a hearty “Happy Birthday, Daddy – it’s a camera!”
Of course, the girls are the two best presents I’ve ever received and are the gifts that keep on giving (and not just with presents). Watching them grow up has been a tremendous return on the years I’ve paid into the process. If I can no longer lift them over my head by their ankles it is only because I’m saving myself for more prodigious feats of strength such as walking them down the aisle or launching them into the world. And I wonder what the musical accompaniment to that will be.