(First written July 23, 2010, posted privately. Reprinted here in its entirety.)
What is a birthday? Is it just a marking of time, another trip around the sun since you were heaved naked and screaming into this world? Is it a celebration of the beginning of a life deemed worth remembering? Or is it a remembrance of a specific event, where strangers meet and instantly become a family?
I was born on July 22, 1982. There are only two people who remember the events of that day and would, given their participation in said events, be likely to remember and celebrate the day. Unfortunately, both of those people, my birth parents, have decided instead to forget. I learned this past weekend that Maggie gets upset at the very mention of my name, and has demanded that no one speak to her of me at all. Tom's first words to me, upon realizing who I am, were "Yeah, dude. You caught me." Like he'd done something wrong, and had been tracked down by the authorities. Certainly, July 22 is not a date they celebrate or keep in their hearts. And as for the rest of the birth family, they only learned of my existence two years ago. A more memorable date for them would be when I contacted Ruby, which was in November, a far cry from July 22.
And it's not like July 22 was a good day to celebrate my birthday. In my youth, my birthday party was almost always delayed; my family was in the furniture business, and the big expo in Las Vegas always fell on the week of my birthday, so the family would be out of town. We'd celebrate when they got back. Later birthdays were fairly miserable. July 22, 2006, saw my birthday fall on a Saturday, where unfortunate events at Lyondemere Anniversary led to my tearful departure less than an hour after opening court. July 22, 2009 brought the knowledge that my escrow had fallen through. Yesterday, July 22, 2010, saw me working from 7:50 AM to 9:50 PM on the day of a Board meeting; my boss was ill, so I was designated as a minutes-taker, in addition to my IT duties for the Board, running the election module, maintaining the Board presence on the Physicians' portal, etc. In short, July 22 is a terrible day to celebrate anything, and the date itself is unimportant to everyone I know and love.
On October 8, 1982, my adoptive parents first met me and took me home. It was a very memorable day for them. Until I was six, we used to celebrate both days; my legal birthday, and my "delivery day." The normative expectations of the public school system required us to choose one day to observe, and I chose my birthday. I've decided to reverse that decision.
From now on, I'm observing my passage of years on October 8. This will put me in Bakersfield for Great Western War, which means I'll be surrounded by both family and friends on a day that means so much to those I care most about. I'll still recognize my legal age on the proper day, but I request that all natal well-wishing and song mutilation be done in October rather than July.