For the past 18 years of my life, I have shared a birthday with my younger sister. Not that we were born on the same day, but it's close enough with her birthday on the 29th of March and mine on the 30th. This year she will be 18 and I will be 21. Ever since we were little we've 'shared' birthdays, though we did go through a few years where we tried desperately to distinguish ourselves and put our parents through the birthday process two days in a row instead of just sharing it. Don't ask me why we thought sharing our birthday would muddle our self-identity, but since then we have come to our senses and share not only birthdays but almost everything else.
Our lovely world of shared birthdays has been disrupted the past two years since I've been at college. I didn't have the common sense to go to an in-state school, and we've been rudely introduced to the grown-up world of sending each other birthday things. Last year was the first time I realized how much I associated sending things in the mails with being grown-up. I watched my mother send her sisters and parents birthday greetings and gifts in the mail, and I always thought it was a very sad grown-up thing that she had to do. Strangely enough, now I find myself doing the same thing.
I now walk the aisle of the store without having those 'beat-around-the-bush-to-see-what-she-wants' conversations with my sister. There's an excitement in picking out the perfect card and gift, but it carries the disappointment of knowing I won't see her face when she opens it. I know we'll think about each other all day on the 29th and 30th, feeling like we've really only had half a birthday without the other.
I wrote her an email today telling her I got her package in the mail. Then I told her that we are going to have to figure something out about these birthdays so we can be together. Maybe we'll consider putting a clause into our wedding vows, and make our husbands promise to make sure we always have our birthdays together. Having a birthday by myself just isn't the same.