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No birthday is ever the same. No birthday past the age of 13 is very exciting. Childhood birthdays are the best. Long sunny days spent in a bathing suit, falling asleep under the cool ceiling fan, my wet beach towel chilling my skin.

Popsicles were the air conditioning of choice, pizza was the birthday dinner of choice, gift-opening was the entertainment of choice. (My siblings would argue that my “practiced” facial expressions for each opened present was the real entertainment.)

Some of the presents I remember from my favorite birthday: a sleeping bag, (we were campers) a Swiss Army knife, (from my dad, the Eagle Scout) and a pink and teal bike (worn with spandex… which was totally and completely in style at the time).

Life was good. Tree climbing, hammock swinging, insects biting, fence hopping, bike riding, bedtime avoiding, pool swimming, roller blading, wound bandaging. Life was good.

Party hats in pink, ice cream cakes from Dairy Queen melted on my paper plate; summer birthdays are the best.

As an adult, my birthday was spent very differently. I went to work, quietly took phone calls from each sibling and parent, and promised to call them later. A quiet lunch with my husband, a walk with the dog, a peach belini, dinner at Red Lobster, and an early bedtime.

I miss the swatting flies, barefoot running, outside playing days.

I’d give anything to spend a few days in my childhood again.

Happy birthday to me.

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