Yesterday I celebrated my 22nd birthday. Twenty-two sounds strange to say. It is like I have reached this age that is wedged between being a young adult who has the right to party and goof off a lot, and an actual adult who has a real career and stuff. But I think I can be good at an in-between age like twenty-two. After all, my birthday is wedged right in the middle of Christmas and New Years.
Whenever I tell people that my birthday is on December 29th, they always pity me.
"Oh, I'm sorry. That must be awful to have a birthday so close to Christmas."
"I bet people only give you one present and say it's your birthday and Christmas present. I bet that makes you mad."
When people ask me if I hate having my birthday by Christmas, I usually reply, "No. I don't know any different."
But an honest reply to that question is: No. I actually really LOVE celebrating my birthday along with Christmas. I always have loved being a December baby and I think I always will.
birthday crepes and birthday cake
When I was in grade school, I always looked forward to the end of December. It was the absolute most magnificent time in my eyes. I was always mesmerized by everything Christmas. Then once Christmas ended, while everyone else was depressed with the holidays ending, I got to keep celebrating due to the coming of my birthday. Then, on top of that, there was usually snow. Snow! I always have loved snow. I think a world covered in snow is one of the more stunning things I've ever seen. Not to mention, I never ever had to go to school on my birthday since it was always during break. That meant instead of sitting through classes all day, waiting for school to end so I could go home and party, I started the party right in the morning when I woke up. No, as a child I had no problem being a holiday kid.
Now as an adult, I still love when my birthday is. I love imagining my parents in the year of 1990 on Christmas morning, opening presents around the tree, my mom with a cute pregnant belly. They probably got really great presents, but I like to imagine them giddy thinking about how their most anticipated gift could arrive any day. Maybe they wondered what I would look like. Maybe they were afraid to become parents. Maybe they wondered if a snow storm would come the day I was born. Maybe they listened to lots of Christmas tunes and my mom ate too much fudge and that's the real reason I listen to Christmas music after Halloween and also why I'm addicted to chocolate. I love thinking that I was a late Christmas present and an early goal for the New Year. That makes me feel a bit special.
I also feel that there is no better way to celebrate my own birth and life merely days after celebrating the birth and life of my Savior. It is humbling. It is sweet. I couldn't imagine a better time to be born.
And then there is the present issue. I have never felt like I don't get enough birthday presents. I think the fact that I just got so many presents from Christmas makes me treat my birthday differently. It's not really a day I think of getting things. It's a day I think of doing things. Anyone who knows me well would tell you I'm a huge fan of birthdays. Birthdays are a big deal to me. They are important. They aren't just a day where you turn a year older. Birthdays are a chance to celebrate the gift of a person's life. That's huge.
I was nervous about my birthday this year. After going to Vegas for my 21st birthday, I was afraid this year might be a letdown. However, it wasn't. It is actually a birthday I will remember for a long time.
I decided I wanted to do some good deeds on my birthday this year. I guess to show myself that my little life has some kind of an impact. I talked to a friend who works at an assisted living center and made arrangements to meet a woman who rarely gets visitors. The friend informed me this lady was deaf, but really good at reading lips. When I arrived on the afternoon of my birthday, the friend led me to the room and told me that the sweet lady had been anxiously waiting all day for my arrival. I thought perhaps she was exaggerating. But I discovered she was not. The woman was ecstatic to see me, a complete stranger, enter her room. She showed me her Christmas presents, she told me about her life, and all the while there was complete happiness radiating from her face. Then at the suggestion of being pen pals, she clapped and laughed and rushed to find a notebook so I could write down my address. As I scribbled down my name and address, I'm not sure how I managed to stay composed. This sweet, lonely woman made my whole birthday. I blinked back my tears and gave my new friend a hug as I realized that one person's life really can make an impact. I mattered to that lady at that moment. And she mattered to me too. It was a sweet moment I will cherish always. I'll patiently wait for a letter from my new friend.
Besides that special moment, my whole day was filled with other sweet moments as well. From breakfast on the town with Brian, to ice skating with friends, to sledding adventures with my family, and eating Mexican food (my mom craved it while she was pregnant with me) with people I love. My first day of being a twenty-two year old was certainly a good one.
The very last thing I did before my birthday ended at midnight was read a special letter. I have a "birthday notebook" and every year I write myself a birthday letter. It probably makes me sound like a crazy person, that I write myself a letter. But it's grown to be one of my favorite traditions. I love reading what younger Kelsey has to say and it's always fun seeing where I was at a year ago. After reading the year old letter, I always write myself a letter to put away for safe keeping until December 29th rolls around again. I encourage all you birthday lovers and journal keepers out there to try this. I started doing this in high school and I don't want to ever stop.