Yesterday was my 34th birthday, and I have to say it was one of my best. More on that later. Sunday night I was laying in bed thinking about how lucky I am to have such a great family when I started to think about past great birthdays. So here’s a fun recap of some of my best, and why:
10 – While it may not seem obvious why becoming 10 is the coolest thing ever – let me share why I was so pumped. Two words – Double Digits. Plus I received the best gift – a boom box from my parents. I went nuts when I opened the gift, believe it or not I still have it (well my Dad does), he keeps it in his garage. It was the beginning of my love affair with music – first tape? Huey Lewis and the News. Not the best way to start, but c’mon – I was 10. Good times – Back to the double digits… I remember bounding down the hallway whooping and hollering DOUBLE DIGITS!! I’m not sure I’m really proud of that, nor am I really sure why I was so excited (maybe it’s because Alyssa Milano was 10 and I now felt comfortable enough as a sage young man of 10 to write to her fan club and let her know once and for all “who’s the boss”..) but I digress.
13 – At 13 I was the same height I am now (which isn’t really saying much) but I was a full head taller than everyone. I’m convinced it’s where I get my confidence. For some reason when you’re bigger than everyone there’s an odd unspoken reverence for said large person. I never grew another inch, but that one year – I was a God (at least I thought I was). I was captain of my wrestling team, I shaved for the first time, and my parents threw me a surprise party at my house. It was the coolest. We had a lip sync contest and the grand finale was a full party rendition of Paradise City by GNR. There were girls at the party too and that played well into the serge of hormones coursing through my lanky 5 foot 9 inch body. That ruled. On a less exciting note – I spent 3 months of that year grounded whilst dealing with said serge of hormones…..once again….I digress…
21 – I’d already been drinking legally for a few months because I was living in Leuven Belgium for a year long study abroad program. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Leuven, it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for most pubs per square meter – a great place to study. 30,000 students from all over the world and lots of Belgian Beer. That weekend I knew my Mother, brother Mark and cousin Trish were coming to visit. What I didn’t know was that my Father was joining them. I remember waiting at the airport for them to land (they were delayed due to a huge snow storm back home in New York). I was lying down on a row of chairs when I said to my good friend Steve Rossi “I wonder when they’ll get in”. My Dad answered the question as he stood over me. I was bewildered, and thrilled at the same time. Everyone arrived safely and the “kids” decided to hit the bars that first night in Belgium. I’d been bragging to my brother and cousin that I had a great tolerance for Beer now because I’d been drinking legally and that there was no way I’d get sick. Big mistake. I remember running to the bathroom after a round of shots. I calmed myself and felt the urge to throw up pass. That’s when Paulo Antonio Ribeiro Montero walked in (I swear that’s the kids name, odd that I remember, but really, could you ever forget a name like that?). When he came into the bathroom he had a pint glass of soda. I asked him for a sip because I was on the verge of projectile vomiting and I needed to settle my stomach. He happily obliged me. I chugged, chugged….then spit out the straight Jack Daniels. Bummer. Commence Vomiting. I ran home screaming “I’m 21” at the top of my lungs. Not sure I’ll ever brag to my cousin and brother again about much anything let alone being able to drink them under the table. But man, it was fun.
30 – This was the biggest mind blower of all time. While at the mall with my wife Laura one evening, we were set to leave and invite my brother and his wife out for dinner with us. When we called my brother was stand-off ish, and not interested in leaving the house. I tried to persuade him to no avail. I hung up and told my wife Laura (then my girlfriend) that they were in for the night and not interested. We started to drive a bit when Laura suggested we call him and tell him we’ll visit them and bring over some pizza. I called back and my brother hesitated a bit, but then said fine, just get some pizza and come over. When we walked into the house it was packed with friends and family. I was seriously so confused when I walked in. I thought I’d invited myself over, not the other way around. I was played, and had the best surprise ever. This was one of the many “she’s a keeper” events that Laura pulled off over the years.
34 Sunday the whole family came over to celebrate, and it was a fantastic time. My cousins Trish and MK joined in the fun, and the my nieces and daughter made it a total blast. Thanks guys!