On the day before my 8th birthday, I rolled up into a ball on my bed and cried hysterically because I wasn’t going to be 7 anymore and there was nothing I could do about it. (I guess I really liked being 7, but I can’t account for it now.) My mom told me that it would be ok, that soon all my friends would turn 8 and we could all be 8 together; and that she had really enjoyed her 8th year, it was one of her favorite years in her childhood. This helped me.
I was born mid-morning on Thanksgiving. I share my birthday with Harpo Marx, Billy The Kid, Boris Karloff, Miley Cyrus, Chris Hardwick, and our 14th president Franklin Pierce. I was born exactly 2 weeks after the Berlin Wall fell.
In my family we lump all the aunt/grandchild birthdays into one monthly party at my grandma’s house, so all the June-August birthdays or all the January birthdays will be compressed into one shindig, and each gets their own cake and each gets their own presents. I was born on Thanksgiving, and so my birthday was always celebrated when we went up to grandma’s on Thanksgiving day. We’d have a big turkey dinner, and then we’d have cake and presents. I’ve never told my parents this, but until I was in the 2nd grade I thought that my birthday WAS Thanksgiving, and it, too, shifted around from year to year. I mean, I absolutely knew that I was born on November 23rd, but when you’re ever asked your birthday, they usually ask for the year too, and in 1989 Thanksgiving fell on November 23rd.
My dad used to tell me that “the whole Thanksgiving thing” was kind of dying out, and year after year people would sit around the turkey going “well, this is lame, what are we supposed to be thankful for?” But then I was born, and everyone went “MOLLY’S HERE!” and Thanksgiving was saved.
I still don’t really know where I sit on the subject of age, exactly. I heartily subscribe to the “age is just a number” principle, but I’m also fascinated by the half+7 rule of non-creepy dating. My friend Leslie said that I’m a score old, which made me feel REALLY old. Paul & Storm mentioned once that some people were incredulous that I was “only 19.”
I spent the last day of my 19th year watching New Moon (which life is too short to even talk about) with my floormates, and then sleeping to try and get New Moon off my palate. I will close it out by finishing a paper about Ben Franklin’s “The Speech of Polly Baker” and eating Smarties and Snapple. This paper is due in my 10:00 AM American Literature class, and I was born at 9:59 AM… There’s some meaning to be inferred there, but I don’t know what it is.
The idea of turning 20 freaks me out, moreso than the idea of turning 21. I spent Saturday in Seattle, and at the end of the day my back hurt from carrying my uke and my books and CDs, and so I crashed on my bed as soon as I got back to my room. I was laying there with my legs hanging off the side of my tiny dorm bed, both my shoes on, and the bottom of my pants still wet from puddles — when a thought hit me, and compelled me to roll out of bed and zombie-walk across the hall to my friend Lyanna’s room.
“I’ve been thinking this whole time, ‘Oh, last day I’ll be 19, on Monday I’ll be a different age, how weird,’” I said to her, “but it never occurred to me that tomorrow is the last day of my teenage years. It’s my last day as a teenager.”
She nodded, “According to my calculations, yeah.” I stood there for a moment, letting the idea steep in my head.
“I feel like I need to go start on some wacky teen movie romp, you know? Like, I have to go on some legendary hilarious sexy one-night-only hijinks, and then Snag My Dream Guy, or SOMETHING. It’s my last day as a teenager, I feel like I have to make it count.” Lyanna shrugged.
“Well, we got you a cake.”
“…I like cake.”