Birthday at the Wall

When I was 8 my parents sent me to summer camp in northern Pennsylvania.  2 months.  All boys.  No underwear (strange camp tradition).  The owner of the camp was a dentist so sweets were restricted to the point of absurdity.  One Coke per summer.   Packages from parents gone through for any candy.

I went for 5 years.  The last week of every summer would split the camp in half and turned on eachother for the most competitive, intense color war.  All five years I was on the winning team.

On July 10, at lunch they would bring out a birthday cake and the entire camp would sing to me.  Their were 16 slices of cake.  12 went to my table.  The other 4 pieces were for whoever I chose of the remaining 90 kids at the camp.  I couldn't win.  One piece went to my brother Andrew.   The other three I had to make and break friends with.

I have never looked forward to my birthday.  Never wanted the attention.  Never wanted to choose who gets slices of cake.  Not that I had a thing about my age.  I am fine with that.  I just didn't know what expression to have when they sang Happy Birthday.

I don't feel that way this year.  I am so happy right now that a birthday feels like a way of sharing my happiness.   Stephie and I began my birthday at midnight at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.   I put my hands and face against the warm stone and sent prayers to the place they are heard.

We then went back to our room for a videochat where Jackson sang Happy Birthday (with Janet and Emily and Asher) - and showed me the card he made with cookie sprinkles.