Monday Update: Lots of Birthdays Around Here.

My niece Olivia is thirteen years old today. I remember Jill calling me, a couple of weeks after returning from her honeymoon. “You’re NEVER going to believe this!!” she said… and then commenced a long and happy nine months of meticulous, Jill-style baby preparation. I still remember the outfits Jill had ready for the new baby: if it was a girl, she had a little denim skirt, and a pink cardigan, little brown sandals, a hair band….. for a boy she had bought some one-piece crap on a hanger. (It has never been a secret that Jill really wanted a girl.) Today, Olivia is fun and very social; she has beautiful, thick dark hair and a kind of amazing, natural sense of rhythm– for real, Olivia is a GREAT dancer– and sometimes she sends me a text just to say hello. (It always makes my day.) She is the first of Jill’s three daughters; the first time I babysat for Olivia, Jill left me a note so detailed that it specified that, at Olivia’s bedtime, I was to “walk slowly into dark room with blanket over left shoulder.”

We still love her that much. If possible, we love her even more.


And then here’s another thing: 33 years ago today, my siblings and I got to stay home from school until my dad called to tell us whether we had a new baby brother or a new baby sister. (I was pulling for a sister.) At around lunchtime, my ten-year-old self returned to school and went directly to the gym, where some kind of assembly was taking place. It wasn’t a big school, and everyone knew my mom; when I opened the door, everyone went quiet. I started to walk toward the bleachers and one of the teachers said, “Well?? Is it a girl or a boy?” I said, “It’s a boy.” Now, in reality there may have just been polite applause– but forever in my mind, that whole place went crazy, welcoming my new baby brother. They were all to get to know him soon: Mom dragged that kid to our games, our plays, our concerts. My spelling bees. As Mikey got older, he would bring his He-Man guy and his Lion-O guy to all events. My siblings will remember that freaking rocking horse he rode nonstop for about five years, in the middle of the living room. If at any time you were sitting on the floor and didn’t have your wits about you, Mikey would tackle you without warning– practicing for his football career. He was silly and fun and sweet, and today– although to my knowledge he’s not carrying around that Lion-O guy anymore– he is still silly and fun and sweet.

And actually he STILL tackles people without warning:


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