It’s the first day of spring, and things are crazy out there. There was an insane rainstorm this morning, and then it passed, and the sun came out, and the wind started up, and the clouds are scuttling across the sky and the lake is full of whitecaps. 

And everything feels wild and free out there. 

It’s almost my birthday, and I love my birthday. I don’t care how the day goes– I’ve had crappy birthdays, and amazing ones, and the last three years, they were pretty low-key, as I was in San Diego and didn’t exactly have designated birthday celebrants with me– I mean, my family wasn’t there, and friends are great but it was always sort of a question of a) will I have something to do b) who will I do it with c) what will it be and will anyone show up. I mean, there’s something magical about receiving packages from your family in the mail on the exact day of your birthday (my dad’s all about paying for great timing) but there’s something sort of lonely (but still sweet) about putting your sister on speakerphone as you unwrap them in your apartment by yourself. 

Whereas here, my sister’s obligated to show up for my birthday, so that makes one, and her boyfriend too in a less required but still necessitated way, so that’s 3 and that’s already a party. So then I get to just choose what to do and tell people and let them show up or not, and all of a sudden there are so many other people who are coming, and I really, really feel like I have people again. 

But my point is: it doesn’t matter how my birthday goes– it always feels like a day that belongs to me. I don’t know if it’s because we have to recite our birthday so many times in so many ways– to the doctor, and for taxes, and all those various forms that make up life– but that day, and even a little bit the whole month of March: it really really belongs to me. 

Also I freakin’ love presents. We’re present-givers in my family, which I actually love about us. It’s not one-sided; I like giving them too. I don’t think people who are bad present-givers realize how much it feels like thoughtlessness, like a lack of generosity of spirit, a lack of paying attention, to people who are good present-givers. I’ve heard that argument, “I’m just not a good present-giver,” the way that some people claim to be bad at remembering names. My jury’s out on both of those. I mean, ok, I suppose you could actually be bad at remembering names, but it sort of just feels like you don’t think I’m important enough to try to remember my name. And presents: sure, sometimes you have to guess, and you mis-hit, or you don’t have the time or money to get the gift you’d really like to give. 

And yes, it takes a little thought and effort. But if you’re paying attention to someone, it’s not usually that hard to find something that at least makes sense to give them. Right? Like, you don’t give a cat a tennis ball, unless you happen to know that cat is really, really into tennis balls. Don’t give a giraffe a stepladder. Don’t buy me bourbon. 

If it was apocalypse and I was tending to wounded who were stumbling into my house and the biological weapons had contaminated all the antiseptic soap and we’d run out of hydrogen peroxide days ago and the people were screaming and bleeding from giant gashes in their legs and begging for solace and comfort and I was desperate for some form of sanitizing their wounds as I ripped t-shirts and sheets into bandages and used sticks to create makeshift tourniquets….then bourbon would be a really, really thoughtful gift.

But other than that, probably not. Unless I accidentally time traveled and met a Scottish prince who spontaneously took me home to meet his father, the King of Scotland, and I happened to have your gift of bourbon on me, and I was able to present it as a host gift, and it gave him a great impression of me, saving him from killing me for being a witch. But that wouldn’t even be bourbon, would it, it would be scotch. So that would probably make things worse. So again: terrible gift. 

I’m going to go shake my presents and if I hear any sloshing, I’m probably going to cry about my imminent death. Thanks a lot. I just wanted to live to see another spring, you guys! There’s so much to live for! Can’t you hear the wind, pulling us out the door into the wild wild world?