My Dear Reader,
It's a strange thing when your younger sister has a birthday that's only ten days before yours. After all, you came here first, so shouldn't you have priority? If you were twins, like two of my brothers happen to be, I could understand sharing a birthday, but birthdays are by nature a very personal and selfish thing. You don't really want to share with someone else because it takes the attention away from you. It's a fairly natural feeling, which, like most other natural feelings, is self-centered and makes no sense.
Okay, so maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration. It's not like we all think we're the Queen of Sheba or anything. And yet, next to Christmas, I'd bet that most people think that their birthdays are pretty high up there on the list of favorite holidays.* I mean, any day is made a whole lot better when it contains presents, ice cream, and cake. Free desserts at restaurants aren't that bad either. So I have to admit that I always get a little depressed when Petite Soeur's birthday rolls around, because I've always felt that she sucks all of the birthday out of the month so there is none left for me. And I don't care what you say, I still swear that she gets better presents. Everybody loves the baby in the family, and since she's the youngest daughter I can't help but feel like I'm like VHS tapes; put out to pasture because there's a newer model.
I remember that I got really confused sometime around first grade about how it was even possible that my younger sister could have her birthday before I did, because I had just been taught that when a person has a birthday that falls before yours it makes him or her older than you. Of course, I completely forgot the big picture, meaning the three years minus ten days that I had spent on the earth as the youngest child, but I was approximately five years old and therefore perfectly excusable. But when I went to talk to Padre and have him sort out the whole mess, he thought my misunderstanding about birthdays and ages was quite a hoot. He told me that I had really been born on Petite Soeur's birthday and vice versa, but they had switched us a few years back for kicks. And of course, being five, I believed him, and I still remember the confused look on my first grade teacher's face when I tried to explain it to her. To this day, I'm still a bit embarrassed, and have decided that I'm not going to fill my future children's heads with hilarious falsehoods and set them loose on the world, no matter how stupid they are.
Anyway, it still happens to be that the worst day of my life falls annually on PetiteSoeur's special day. I try to have a good time. I really do. But every year it somehow happens that I start out being happy and I end up hating the universe by the time they dish out the cake and ice cream. This year, however, since the two of us have grown up and become friends, she actually noticed that I looked like death and asked me what was wrong, and being the honest and open person I was raised to be, I told her everything. It was like one of those sharing moments that they have in Full House where you've got what I call "the flying music" playing in the background and everybody's just so close to tears you want to throw up, but we didn't. Instead, PetiteSoeur told me that she hates my birthday too, since the start of mine means the definite end of hers, like New Year's for Christmas. (I'm pretty sure that's why everyone ends up so smashed.) Anyway, it was an interesting experience as we sat there and confessed our mutual birthday hatred and agreed that it was okay to keep on hating. It's moments like these that I think she's not so bad after all.
I still say that when I have children I'm going plan things a little better.
Regards, best wishes, and general stupidity,
*Of course, there are always those people who hate the fact that time keeps moving forward no matter what we do. These people are old. The way I see it, you're not old until you're embarrassed of the time you have spent here and the experience you have gained, or in a cliché, you're only as old as you feel. People seem to be stuck in this great irony where we hate how old we are and yet diminish those who have less experience than we do. Maybe someday we'll all just grow up.