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.