Friday, April 13, 2007

April Showers

By Susan Helene Gottfried

I love April. Yes, even though I sit here clad in my favorite winter fleece, I love this month.

Maybe it's the unpredictability of the weather. The fact that April refuses to conform and insists on throwing us, day after day, a curve ball.

In many ways, I am the same as April. That's fitting, as I am an April baby. The month and I reflect each other. We compliment each other, we contradict each other. That's how I like it.

Most of the major events in my life have taken place in April. Not just my birthday, but my Bat Mitzvah, too. I graduated from college and passed my oral exams to officially earn my MFA in creative writing in April. I started my blog a year ago, in April. And this month so far, I've won awards and accolades.

About the only thing that hasn't happened in April was my wedding, which happened at the end of March. And what tends to follow a wedding but children -- neither of whom were born in April. Not for lack of trying, however.

Given all of these Aprilian warm fuzzies, you'd think I'd love my birthday. Remember, though, April and I are unpredictable. And, thus, I loathe my birthday.

It's not that I mind getting older. Not at all; I've earned these years. Even though I wonder if I should act sedate and wear pastel flowered clothing, I like where I am. I like the paths I'm on.

The problem with my birthday is simple. No matter how little I expect, I never get it. Oh, the Tour Manager is stellar on birthdays, don't get me wrong. And my parents never forget to send an e-mail. It's everyone else who presents the problem.

A few years ago, I declared the entire month of April to be my birthday. Despite the fact that you only had a one-in-30 chance of getting the actual day right, you were never wrong when you wished me a year's worth of blessings.

I had a friend who, a few years back, rose to the challenge of getting the day exactly right. Every single April day, he sent me a birthday greeting of some sort. A joke. An e-card. Every single day.

We've fallen out of touch since then, but I still treasure his effort. Just like April, it was unpredictable and wild -- and fun. It made me, for once, not hate my birthday.

This year, with the Penguins in the playoffs, I've got an equally good reason to draw the cheer out. I declared that my family was going to get dressed up and have dinner in a local seafood restaurant… only to have the playoffs interrupt our plans.

Well, it's April. If there weren't snags in the plan, I'd worry. And if we have to wait until May for my birthday dinner because the Pens are kicking the Senators back to Ottawa, that's a present in and of itself.


Anonymous said...

My birthday's in May and every 6 years falls on "Victoria Day," (a Monday holiday in Canada.) Given my given name is "Victoria," I feel a special thrill when my birthday lands on Victoria Day, and I tend to humbly think of it as "My day."

Last year my birthday fell on Victoria Day, and I spent it at Cape May. So I was a Victoria celebrating my birthday on Victoria Day in May on Cape May.

Given all that, you'd think it would have been wonderful. I slept through most of it, I was so exhausted from the weeks before.

Then again, maybe hibernation is not a bad way to spend a birthday. Like they say, it may beat the alternative.

Annette said...

Happy Birthday, Susan. My mom turned 87 on the 10th and my brother's first son was born 39 (I think...math isn't my strong suit) years ago on the 11th.

I love April, too, but because of the re-birth going on in nature. Buds and green grass and yellow daffodils...And right about now, I'd love to see a re-birth of sunshine. Where is that stupid groundhog? I want him dead.

Joyce Tremel said...

Annette, I just heard a woman on the radio who wanted to get a busload of people and go to Punxutawny and "roast the little son of a bitch." Any takers?

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Susan!

I have three tax-season babies (two are teens now) and am married to a CPA. So you can imagine why my poor kids have to wait until May every year for their kid parties and the extended-family celebrations. We do manage to go out for a fancy dinner on each of their special days. Though it's funny because, by the last birthday this tax season, my daughter chose a more casual restaurant. "I'm tired of Ruth's Chris," she said after having been there just 5 days before. Me too, I thought.

Yes, in April we are in survival mode here. And during survival mode, there is no time for party planning. I am grateful for May flowers!

karen! said...

Happy April!
Happy birthday! :D

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Susan! I, too, have been a big believer in month-long birthday celebrations. Now I discover it was because I had to give up birthdays entirely.

What I love most about April is the gardeing catalogs and magazines! I've got a plan to pull up some bushes and start another corner of the garden all over again.--Yay!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Thanks, everyone! I can't even imagine gardening right now; all of a sudden, it seems as cold as it was for our February (March?) meeting!

Unknown said...

Happy birthday, Susan! I don't have much to say about April, except that global warming is killing my landscaping!!!! Gah!!!

cheesygiraffe said...

Happy Birthday Susan! :D