My Sixteenth Birthday

November 29, 2009
I cherish January 15th: It is my birthday. It’s the day my life began. To a stranger it’s another day, but to me it’s where my world started. To celebrate this year--my sixteenth-- called for something never done before, right? Wrong. I wanted to do something unusual, but nothing excessive. My parents wanted me to have a sweet sixteen, but I didn’t want to have a huge celebration. They wanted to see me happy, and have an amazing time on a day that was devoted all to me. They wanted me to receive the praise and recognition I deserved for being their daughter. All I wanted was to glide by my birthday without being the center of attention. I have been told by my parents that because of my simple-feeling display of behavior, that I remind them of an old parable. “A very hungry hen was scratching and digging in the dirt looking for food. She scratched and dug and finally found a beautiful jewel. She was amazed at how the gem shone and glittered.” “This is a very fine and beautiful thing” she thought, “but I would rather have one tasty kernel of corn instead.”

I guess you can say I preferred to do something different, or that I was stubborn refusing to be the social butterfly that everyone wanted me to be. I was offered to have a huge sweet sixteen for my birthday, a party with cameras, dancing, and more money to spend than to save for college, and I refused.

I imagine girls my age with their Ugg boots, leggings and fake tans trying on gorgeous glittering gowns exhausting “O-M-G Daddy, can you please buy me this?” Really, who does that? Maybe it’s because I’m a simple person, surrounding myself with those who share the same views, or because I don’t like Hilary Duff music, but on my birthday I wanted to take twelve of my closest friends with me ice skating, and not have a sweet sixteen, so I did.

Like that, there we were. Thirteen teenagers stepping out of a limo in the middle of Floyd Bennett Field dressed in sweatshirts and jeans. “Only the Music crew can pull it off.” my sisters joked as we maneuvered through the lengthy line to the skating rink. As each of us put on skates, we wobbled. When my friends and I stepped onto the ice, we lost balance. After efforts of grabbing at the plexiglass wall, and falling on each other to gain support, we finally managed to slide along slowly until we came to a turn, in which the process of falling commenced again. After all, that is what friends are for. Not the song, but for someone you can trust with your vulnerabilities, in hopes that they won’t see you any differently than you want to be seen. They understand you, and you know you could seek their guidance, or in this case, literally support.

After hours of tripping and laughing we boarded the limo again to eat at an Italian restaurant. “Someone turn up the radio, I love this song!” I shouted.

“Oh no, she’s going to car sing! Close your ears!” the rest of the limo responded.

During the time it had taken to arrive at the restaurant I realized how accurate my parents were when they related me to the hen. In the parable, the hen found something that was a treasure, but that would have only been a treasure if picked up by someone else. She would have rather had the kernel, which in her opinion was much better. Likewise I was offered the opportunity to throw an extravagant party- which in my parent’s opinion was a treasure-. To me, it was something I didn’t find necessary, and I much preferred to do something different from their ideas. In the end I got my wish to do something I felt a personal treasure, and still managed to have the day devoted to celebrating my existence.

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