Because of my end-of-summer birthday, July 30 usually falls on the yearly backpacking trip with my dad and siblings. We get up before sunrise and take off in the old pickup toward the heart of Wyoming to the Wind River mountain range. These mornings aren't always our favorite, having to kiss the warm showers and soft beds goodbye, but they have been some of the more memorable.
My siblings and I played our version of "Marry, Date, or Dump"for a good three hours on the trail one day ("Hey, Levi...marry, date, or dump--Hermione Granger, Alice Cullen, and Katniss Everdeen."). Another time we managed to locate the lookalikes to the major landmarks from The Hunger Games (Rue's meadow, the stream, the clearing). Sometimes my sisters and I will share boy stories the whole way. Occasionally we find ourselves speechless, standing atop cliffs thousands of feet high and staring out across trees and lakes and other mountains that go for miles and miles.
At the end of that day every year, I cuddle myself into a ball inside my sleeping bag and, tucked between my sweet sisters, fall asleep with a smile on my face after taking a mental photo of the majesty of being with my family, thousands of feet closer to heaven.
my favorite birthday was that of my 16th. perhaps cliche. i was a tad bit socially behind. i didn't want to plan a party because who would i invite? plus my birthday was on a monday. a monday of all days! i was at rehearsal for Anything Goes when the back doors opened. my friends began parading down the stairs disrupting the entire rehearsal. the choreographer was not pleased. i was terribly confused. then they started saying, "we are taking her with us!" they dragged me off the stage and out the door. there were a parade of mini vans waiting in the high school parking lot to drive us back to my house.
when we arrived the house was decorated and a party was in full swing. a surprise party just for me. boy did i feel loved and special.
my mom knew i was weird about the whole party thing. she had planned the entire event right under my nose and invited, what felt like, every person i had ever talked to. one of my friends even brought me a birthday couch and set it on my lawn. a boy also shoved cake in my face and my dad looked like her was going to beat him up. i suppose we are all a little socially challenged when we are 16.