Saturday, June 6, 2009


My parents always made a big deal about my birthdays. I think most of the credit for this goes to Mom, but Dad was awfully jolly about my day, too. We'd have a great party and a day full of special Jennifer Things. I grew up thinking they were inherently magical, special days. 

I remember when I turned 18 and had just moved out of the house to Little Rock for a couple of weeks before my parents would move down to join us. I was living at my grandparents' for that time. It was in the middle of the week, everyone was busy with their own lives, and I was working at Shoney's all day. Somehow, for the first time ever, I went most of the day without anyone wishing me happy birthday. Eventually, they did, and I think I got some presents trickling in here and there over the next couple of weeks from various people, but it was a real wake-up call to me. My first adult birthday, what I'd thought would be a huge one, just because, and it turned out to be devoid of almost any overt birthdayness. I really was an adult.

It was then that I realized that the magic of birthdays is made up mostly of what people who love you make of them. I knew on that 18th birthday that my family and friends didn't suddenly love me any less, they just hadn't had time or ability to make a fuss about it. I realized I'd been sort of spoiled all those years, and vowed to be grateful for any birthday attentions I got, and to always make a point of remembering and celebrating others' in some way.

Of course I don't. I forget people's all the time, or remember, but don't find time to call or write or send a gift. I wish I were better at that. Maybe someday I will be. 

But it's okay, because every day is a good reason to celebrate someone you love, and everyone is human and forgets these things sometimes.

That said. 

It's my birthday, and I'm excited. I'm 36. This is an important year for several reasons. Namely, because it's what I long ago decided would be my magic year. 

I was born on June 6. So, 6/6. Six has thus, always been my favorite number--followed closely by four and nine, though it's harder to explain the why of those. Birthday numbers that contain sixes are automatically good. But 36 is 6 x 6. It's the best possible number, and has the added mathematical beauty of being the mash-up of a 3 and a 6. I don't know how to explain it, but it's lyrical and beautiful in a number sort of way in my head. Also, my other two favorite numbers , four and nine, when multiplied? 36. 

It's destiny. 

When I started writing this post, another reason occurred to me. That 18th birthday is now officially half a lifetime ago. That was a turning point. This will be another.

Apparently, it already has been, since I'm writing a blog post for the first time in months. 

A lot has transpired in the meantime, and I'm sorry not to have written more updates in between. 

The best new development is that I have a new job, and I love it. I'll have to write more about it in another post, but it's a great fit for me and my particular skill set at this point in my life. I'm looking forward to see how I grow in my career this coming year, as well as in every other area. 

Thanks to everyone for the many, many birthday wishes I've received already, and for the years of love and support and friendship and laughter we've shared. 

Happy you-day to you. And ma-ny mooooooooooooore....


Anonymous said...

I have many happy memories of your birthdays.


Craig Kennedy said...

Happy Birthday, Jennifer and to 36 more happy ones and beyond.

Christie said...

Happy birthday - almost a month late! Your blog was blocked by the PRC (doesn't that make you sound important), so I'm just now getting caught up. Hope you had a good one and I hope your first month as a 36 year-old was all that you hoped it would be!

jennybee said...

Thanks, Christie! How funny that the People's Republic had me on the danger list! I wonder was it the queen or the ordinary that triggered their red flag?

Lucky for you, I've barely written anything on here in ages. I'm so bad. New job is my excuse, though, at least for the past coupla months.

Welcome back!