Today is August 3, which is my birthday. Yep, I’m turning 47 years old today. (Please save your old hag jokes for some other blog, thank you very much.) A year ago on this date, in addition to recalling some of my birthdays past, I made a makeshift bucket list of what I wanted to accomplish or have happened to me in the next 365 days. Yeah, looking back on that list, I only managed to hold true to “stay employed” (which I thankfully still am) and “stay healthy” (which I am as well, thanks in part to this activity). The others I didn’t accomplish either by not bothering with it or by unfortunate circumstance.
So, I’m gonna ditch adding to the bucket list this year (save for keeping “stay employed” and “stay healthy” on the list) and think about birthdays past, specifically the ones of my early youth. In my closet is a photograph of myself in my infancy that an aunt and uncle on my birth father’s side gave to me one year. Though I’m tempted to do so, I won’t post that photo here out of privacy reasons, but I will give you a verbal description: There I am, about 9 or 10 months old (the Kodak development date on the back says “June 1970”), giggling for the camera, wearing a white shirt and belted tan shorts, hair cut short yet noticeably sticking up on top (some things never change), standing on my own feet (I imagine I had recently begun to walk), bracing myself on the edge of my parents’ green couch, and hanging onto my teething toy (a set of plastic keys).
No, this particular photo wasn’t on my birthday, but seeing that picture along with the fact that today is my birthday got me to thinking about what I would have told my younger self had I had the chance back then. No, not my pre-teen self (I already did that here), but the infant in the photo. He probably wouldn’t comprehend what I would tell him yet, but telling him about the man — and part-time woman — he would become would feel so cathartic.
Hey there, kid! How do you do?
Happy first birthday to you!
Your mom and dad have plans for you.
Birthday cake; balloons; presents, too.
Today, you’ll have a lot of fun.
But… do you know who you’ll become?
You’ll become a big brother, twice over.
You’ll have lots of schoolwork as you get older.
You’ll do good things, great things.
And some things will be bad.
But don’t let them make you feel sad.
For because of them, a well-rounded life you’ll have.
You’ll stay near, but you’ll go far.
Via big planes or the smallest car.
You won’t quite see the world over.
But you’ll be a wonderful uncle, 4 times over.
You’ll do great work.
You’ll be proud of your work.
And others will admire you.
Even those who know the inner you.
The female side of you.
You probably don’t know about that, do you?
At your age, I didn’t expect you to.
But you’ll put on wigs and dresses and skirts.
When you’re hidden from your family
And away from work.
Becoming a woman won’t be permanent.
But in your life, it’ll become pertinent.
Dressing up will help you be a better person.
A well-rounded person.
It’ll help you feel empathy toward others.
And compassion for others.
It’ll be another side of you.
And it’ll let you become a better you.
A truer you.
The real you.
So, happy birthday to you.
Enjoy this wonderful day.
The latest of many days for you.
In this life that’s still brand new.