18 July 2016

A birthday observed

The Tall Man and Grandpa in 2013, celebrating their birthdays and love for blue checkered shirts

I've always been a birthday person. Or maybe it's more accurate to say I am a birthday observer.

When I was younger, I kept mental track of my family and friends' special days and always had a card ready to hand deliver. As people dispersed -- moved away, went to college, grew up -- I started mailing them. Then life got busier, and I started sending texts and emails, or the occasional Facebook wall post if I didn't have time for a longer message. The messages shortened and became littered with emojis, but the content remained relatively the same.

For sure, birthdays are special occasions to celebrate a loved one's life. But they've also become an opportunity to acknowledge that person's significance to me, to catch a glimmer of their life. For those I don't see very often, this "hello - happy birthday - remember when? - how are you?" has become the very gateway to keeping in touch, even if our last encounter was in a distant phase of life.