Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Sara and Melissa Talk About...Birthdays

We've been running a column series to get more personal with our readers. This month, since we're both July babies, we're talking about birthdays!

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them.

Sara Steven:                                                                                                                                 
Melissa made a particular comment recently, after I told her about the power outage I experienced out here in Arizona just a couple of days ago. We’re smack dab in the middle of monsoon season, and while scrambling around in a dark house barely lit by cell phone lights, I remembered the tealight candles she sent my way, as part of my special birthday box. She’s always sending the neatest things for my birthday. 

I’d already packed up nearly all of my candles--we’re moving soon, so I didn’t think I needed candles. I have just the one that I leave as a decorative piece within a white shiny bird cage, and a tiny orange tealight in an orange vase that reads: “Shine a Light.” When I relayed all of that to her, she said, “It’s beshert.”

I’ve heard the phrase before, but I looked it up again, just to be sure. Beshert means, “destiny.” And I believe it was destiny. In fact, the day before I’d contemplated packing the box up and adding it to our ever-growing pile meant for storage, before we make the big move. Yet, I didn’t. My birthday candles really came in handy. 


I played a few card games by candlelight with my husband and son while we waited out the monsoon. At one point, we needed a set of dice, and my son ran off to retrieve the dice he’d received from another friend of mine when she went to Vegas recently. Somehow, they’d eluded the packing surge and were tucked away in a desk drawer. Another beshert moment. Then later in the evening, while we were winding down and counting the hours before we were promised power again, the kid was up for reading one of his Dog Man books, but there wasn’t enough light to make that happen. Is it crazy that Melissa had also packed a clip-on book reading light in the birthday box, too?

The older I get, birthdays begin to feel like just another day. My fortieth was pretty spectacular, with friends and family living it up into the early morning hours before we all crashed and burned with massive hangovers the next morning. But that was three years ago. It feels like the digits between the big 4-0 and 5-0 are just that--digits. And I’m fine with that. I’m happy with cake. Maybe dinner out. I appreciate the gifts I receive, but I don’t focus on them. I nearly forgot my own birthday this year, because there’s so much going on right now and it hasn’t been a priority for me. 

Yet, it’s hard to ignore the “beshert” moments, like this one. Even when I’m not focused on my own needs, my friends have my back. Even when they might not realize it. It all lined up to make a scary, unpleasant night a lot more bearable for all of us, which shows that the people who come into our lives can be our own beshert experiences.   

Melissa Amster:                                                                                       
My birthday is coming up in less than a week. I always look forward to it, even if it's a simple celebration. It's an affirmation of life. This year's birthday puts me halfway to another milestone, which is hard to believe sometimes. In any case, I always enjoy all the Facebook messages from friends and family. I definitely feel the birthday love from near and far. I also give away books every year, either on my personal blog or on social media. I think I will be doing it through my bookstagram this year.

Over the past few years, I've usually taken a "me day" on my birthday. I don't do any work and just relax and do something for myself. I also like having date nights with my husband on or around my birthday. There have been years that I've had a party, usually on Shabbat, with friends from my community. Every year, it varies, just based on what I want to do. Some of them have been a blur over the years. One year, my son got strep, which ended up derailing my "me day," but watched The Karate Kid together and then my in-laws babysat while my husband and I saw Evita at night. That was five years ago. I did end up getting a manicure and pedicure the next day though. 

Last year, thanks to Covid, I didn't do that much, but I watched A Mighty Wind, which is a movie I enjoy. Had I known two days later that I would be laid off from my full-time job (which I am okay with because it has led me to a different path), I might not have taken the day off as it wouldn't have mattered soon anyway. The best part of my birthday was a video card my husband made, where he dubbed his own voice into scenes from Schitt's Creek, trying to do impressions of each character. He totally nailed David's voice and we still laugh about that. He did the same thing with a Randy Rainbow Cameo afterward. While  it wasn't a real Cameo video from Randy, it still made me laugh a lot. Speaking of Cameos, my BFF and her husband got me one from 90 Day Fiance's Loren last year, which was really sweet. While Sara enjoys my gifts, I equally love hers. She got me this Sodastream flavor that I had trouble finding at the store, as well as a David Rose mug. 

I don't have set birthday plans this year, but there are some things I'd like to do, such as having dinner with my family and going to this cool nighttime outdoor art display. Here's to hoping that actually happens!

When is your birthday? What did you do/are you doing to celebrate?

1 comment:

susieqlaw said...

I take a vacation day for my birthday too.