It has been kind of a tradition I've had with myself and my journals to review as many birthdays as I can remember when my birthday rolls around. I think this started about the time I went on my mission. So this year I'm doing this in cyberspace... oooooh
First I suppose I'll cast my mind back to my big 16th birthday. This was spent in the family van traveling north--home from a trip to Disneyland during UEA (Utah Education Association) break. I think we stopped on Santa Monica Blvd and visited the grounds of the LA temple. I seem to remember a photo of me with my longish curly hair and a Green Day t-shirt standing on the temple grounds (I likely had a chain on my wallet too).
The next year I remember well. I had been working unheard of hours at the new Riverwoods Hogi Yogi/Teriyaki Bowl (now Stix) all summer, and that had not really taking a back seat when school started. I think after seven or eight hours at school I hurried off to work and at a managers' meeting was treated to a free small frozen yogurt by the powers that were (and just so happen to be still) on that, my 17th birthday. Ten years ago now... hmm. That was also the year that I worked on Thanksgiving to provide a total of two customers something to eat all day. I don't think that restaurant has been open on Thanksgiving since.
What I remember most about my 18th birthday, aside from receiving my Patriarchal Blessing earlier that month, was that my then "good" friend Emily decorated my car (called "Starbolt" affectionately by my friends and me). I went to school and ... I'm pretty sure that I had Lenito's for lunch, likely a chicken chimi.
The year that passed between 18 and 19 is one of the longest of memory for me--so much seemed to happen. I switched jobs, bands, and basically peers, and then they all kind of meshed together by the end of it all. I finished high school and got a mission call, and began relationships that would affect my future in ways I could not have sensed. But what I remember most about September 29, 1999 was going to the Mt. Timp Temple in the afternoon and sitting in the Celestial Room with the sun shining through that beautiful window and thinking: This must be what heaven feels like. My friends Aaron and Spencer were out of town (they were in Vegas at a Goldfinger concert), and I think my cake had a picture of Michigan on it.
Spring Lake, Michigan is where my next birthday found me. Elder Merritt and I were working diligently to spread the Good News to the folks in Spring Lake and Grand Haven. Mom sent me a box of cake mix and a disposable cake pan and some party favors. Elder Merritt and I baked the cake (after a district meeting that morning and lunch at Fudruckers) and took it to a less-active member's house and celebrated there. We drew faces on the balloons.
Another year and I was on the tail end of my mission. My companion, Elder Eales, and I drove up to the Makinaw Bridge and got some pictures there, and then went to a town that housed an outlet mall where I bought a watch. It was, I think, our only preparation day that transfer period.
How much was to change over the next year, I had no idea. But on September 29, 2002 I was on top of the world because just the night before Jessica had said "Yes" to a marriage proposal. It remember that it was Sunday, so I'm sure I went to church and things, but most of all I remember Jessica wearing the little engagement ring I got her during the cake and icecream that evening.
We move then to 23... we were living in the condo and Jessica was three months pregnant with Joshua. I went to class early that morning--Modern Hebrew taught by Monica Richards. And later it was off to Biblical Hebrew from Don Parry. I think I remember not wanting anyone at school to know that it was my birthday. Then I'm sure I went to teach at the MTC later... and so it was. Oh yeah, this was the infamous (to our family anyway) BYU Bookstore splurge day.
The next year Joshua was six months old and Jessica was working on her capstone semester for nursing. We were extremely busy at this time: Jess was going to two clinicals a week (12 hour shifts) on top of plenty of class time and group projects, while I was working my way through second year Hebrew, a class on Texts and Ancient Temples, and a Book of Mormon class taught by John Bytheway (among other things). I was working hard at the MTC to support us, inasmuch as Jessica's last two jobs had ended with the businesses she worked for closing (B. Dalton Books in January and The Total Health Institute in the summer). Do I remember much about the day specifically? Not really. I'll have to go to my journals to find out.
Two years ago we were the newish owners of our beautiful house. Jessica was well into her first year as an RN and I got my first ever opportunity to teach seminary. This was the trial run: we went into a class at Provo High and taught for half a period. I remember the scripture block was 1 Nephi 20-21 (Isaiah chapters!). I taught Matt Davis's class and he was gone because his wife had just had a baby. That semester I was in the first classes of the official Ancient Near Eastern Studies major: Dana Pike's History and Culture of Ancient Israel and Gaye Strathearn's Introduction to Ancient Near Eastern Studies.
And then last year we had a couple months before welcomed Morgan into our home and I got up early to go teach my "A" day class at Lone Peak. I would come home from teaching for about an hour or so before going to school and when I would come in the house and say something Morgan's little face would light up at my voice. I'm sure something like that happened this day.
And now today. The weather is blustery and beautiful. I got up with Morgan and ate some breakfast... Jessica and her family got me the 16 volume Teachings of the Prophets set from Deseret Book--what a collection to have!
So now, Happy Birthday John Paxon (an old Chicago Bulls player--as an early adolescent I was proud to share my birthday with him) and Darin in Jackson, MI (he is 47 today) and Scott Martin (an old co-worker from Teriyaki Bowl, born on the same day in the same hospital as me) and also Tony Gunn; and whoever else shares this birthday.
2 years ago