Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yom Huledet Sameach to Me!

Yes. It's my birthday. Wahoo! The big Two-Six. What happens when you turn 26? Not a whole lot. So I'll just sit by and wait for 30, the next big thing. My inbox is exploding with Facebook Wall birthday wishes, my Twitter runneth over with kind wishes, and even the blogging universe (Thanks TMC and Heather!) have sent me their tidings.

What to say as I turn 26? I have the world's greatest friends. You guys rock, and I'm continually blessed as a result. What a way to start 5770. I kind of like that my birthday falls during the holidays because it's like starting anew, and anew, and anew. But it also makes celebrating hard (who wants more cake after Rosh Hashanah and break-the-fast babkas and treats!?). There are also no kosher restaurants to dine at around these parts, which is a little bummer, but I'll survive.

I do, however, have to share the most awesome gift EVER that I received from Tuvia (and his mum!). Yes, this gift is seriously the most thoughtful gift ever. Why? Because it takes me back to being a kid, and it's the kind of gift I'd never in a million years expect to get. I got the American Girl's new Rebecca doll, which I blogged about in the past. She's their first Jewish doll to be released with her own story, accessories, and American Girl life! So why's she so special to me?

Here's the story.

When I was a kid, I started to get the American Girl doll catalog in the mail. I'd sit down with it, circling all the books and dolls and accessories that I wanted. This was in the late 1980s, early 1990s, when I was still living in Missouri. They even came out with a special "make a doll that looks like you" feature in the catalog, and I dreamed of having my own doll. Even if I couldn't make one (they were more expensive), I could at least get Molly because her and I were practically twins (brown hair, glasses, pale, geeky). But as much as I prodded my parents, they could never afford the dolls. So every month when we'd visit my parents in Branson, Missouri, we'd go to Silver Dollar City (a very old tyme themepark with train robbers, glass blowing, and hot s'mores during the winter), I'd spend what little money I had on purchasing American Girl collectors cards. I also managed to get a couple of Addy books along the way. But I never got a doll, while some of my other friends did. It was depressing, but I eventually stopped looking at the catalog and moved on. My dreams would never be realized -- after all, you hit a point when dolls become a thing of the past.

So when I saw the Rebecca box and the box with her Shabbat set (challah! hot water urn! tea! challah cover!), I was elated. It was such a special and thoughtful gift, a gift unlike I would expect or ever think of receiving.

The rest of my birthday will be routine. No big parties, no big celebrations. No cakes, no surprises. I'll be teaching a review session at 6 p.m., schlepping into Manchester after that, and hopefully decorating Tuvia's sukkah with him. Chances are I'll curl into bed with my Ancient Fictions book or some Midrashic gem and wrestle myself to sleep with dreams of where I'll be in another year -- Jerusalem? Graduate school? Married? With child? This is the fun of life. Never planning ahead, taking it all in stride, and enjoying every moment surrounded by friends and loved ones.


PS: I forgot to wish Elie Wiesel, my very own birthday buddy, a Yom Huledet Sameach last night. Curses!