On October 20th, 1998, my mother gave birth to her first child, me. My parents had no idea what they were getting into, raising a tiny human and all, but they did it. Two months after my birth, they celebrated their first anniversary.
About ten months after that, on October 20th, 1999, my mom was in the hospital again. She came home with the best birthday present I could have ever hoped to get: my sister Ana.
We’re as close as you can get to being twins without actually being twins. Someone once told me that we’re Irish twins. We’re not Irish (we don’t look it either) or twins, but that makes us sound cool.
Sharing a birthday has been a blast over the years. I can remember one year disagreeing on what theme our birthday party should be. We were probably about seven and eight at the time. I wanted Tinkerbell and Ana wanted cowgirl. My mom, ever the peacemaker, decided we could do both! If you had been at that party, you would have eaten a pretty fairy-themed cake and potato chips from a bowl with a cowboy boot design. You would have worn a bandanna while flapping your arms to fly. It was great.
Our taste preferences have always been different. I like new and flavorful, and Ana likes the classic and simple. Sharing a birthday, we’ve discovered what we can agree on: grits and chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Every year, we ask Mom for a breakfast of grits and for a chocolate-on-chocolate cake.
Sharing a birthday doesn’t mean we do everything together, though. One year we took two different weekends and each had our own sleepover. Ana and her friends stayed up late playing MarioKart and eating popcorn. My friends and I stayed up late eating ‘worms and dirt’ and playing in our sleeping bags.
On my eleventh birthday, Ana’s tenth, our birthday was CHANGED FOREVEEEEEER!
That’s quite dramatic. We didn’t know it at the time, but it’s true.
Our sister Alex was born. We didn’t know she existed for a few months. Then it took a few months more before she came to live with us. She was adopted, and that entire journey would take up a whole book, plus a couple sequels. For now, I’ll just say that things didn’t go how we planned, but that God worked it all out for good.
Last month when I turned seventeen, Ana sixteen, Alex turned six.
This is the third year in a row we had a Sofia the First-themed birthday party (in recent years, our birthday “parties” have been for our family only). It’s hard to find a cartoon character all three kids in the eleven-year gap enjoy. Yes, I enjoy Sofia the First, don’t judge. The cake isn’t chocolate, because on October 10th our other sister Anjalena turned seven and had a chocolate-on-chocolate cake.
This was the first year Ana and I both worked. I was off earlier than Ana (I arrived earlier too) and I didn’t know what to do with myself those couple of hours before Ana came home. It was weird.
I don’t know how to celebrate my birthday without my sisters.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.