In elementary, my parents made a big deal about my birthday. They would take the entire day off work, sneak into my classroom during morning recess or lunch, decorate the classroom and block out the rest of the afternoon for my class to celebrate. Even my teachers enjoyed the afternoon. My mom would get the cutest decorations and bake cupcakes with peanut M&Ms (my favorite) in Valentine’s Day colors, of course. My dad would have a variety of games for my classmates to participate in and gave them prizes. My classmates almost expected to have a party when my birthday came around. On my seventh birthday, my teacher was sick and when my parents came to take over the afternoon, the substitute teacher resisted and all the kids had to convince her that it was allowed because it happens every year.

Timing definitely contributes to the festivity of my birthday. Something about having your birthday a week before the day of loooove just makes everything more special. Everyone is breathing in some nostalgia injected air which just adds to the festivities.

Out of my 22 birthday, there are some that stand out in my memory bank:

1995 – my first year at GAE and my mom put a ‘6’ candle on my cake because they didn’t accept students into Kindergarten who didn’t turn six during the school year. She had to prep me the night before to not question the added year of life she bestowed upon me in the form of a candle. Take that, Glendale. Gotcha!!

2003 – my girlfriends and I went to Chuck E. Cheese to ring in my teenage years. We thought we were sooo old for that kiddy place and thought it’d be ironic. Almost 10 years later and I realize – it’s not.

2009 – gallivanting around Paris, France with some of my closest friends from Italy. From a whipped cream drink filled with sparklers at midnight in the Latin Quarters to standing underneath one of the most iconic landmarks definitely constituted one of the most memorable birthdays.

2011 – Steven treated me like a queen the whole day (Golden Harvest and best red velvet cake from Dean & Delucca) and my Commies demanded we celebrate that Monday night. So glad we did. I was surprised by my two loves, Steven and Kaliko. He flew her out from HAWAII to celebrate my 21st. I cried and cried and cried. The whole week had been so overwhelming with projects and exams and by the time she arrived, I had no strength to contain my emotions. Kathryn, Elisha, Charles, Marvin, Vega, Tony and Krystal came up from Loma Linda to celebrate also! Everyone who came out for my birthday in SF seriously made me the happiest. I know everyone had a good time and from what I can recall, I did too.

2012 – this birthday hasn’t even arrived but I already know it’s one for the books. Steven flew down and went over and beyond my expectations. An intimate night at his house with friends was exactly what I needed. He took care of everything without asking for help. Kathryn and Elisha emptied Target and Party City for decorations and really put the special touches on the night. I’ve never received 22 gifts from one person and I was so impressed with the thoughtfulness of each gift from Steven. Just being surrounded by some of the most important people in your life can turn any day into one of the best.

I’m not afraid to get older. I’m barely starting my twenties and so much has changed. My thirties hold my husband, my children, hopefully a home of my own and a high accrual of vacation days. Each decade holds a completely new life. What’s to fear?

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