Joey’s birthdays through the years

31 Jul

One of the best — or worst — things about having kept a journal since second grade is going back and reading those journals. My favorite thing to do is, on any particular day, see what I was doing, thinking and writing on that same day five years ago, 10 years ago.

My brother is cuter than yours. (Circa 1991-ish)

I recently went through my box o’ journals — two are missing, and I about tore my closet apart looking for them — to see what I wrote on Joey’s birthday through the years.

Early in my life: not much. In junior high and high school, I didn’t have much to do with Joey. When I first realized this — based on the slew of his birthdays that passed with no mention — I felt terrible. But then I thought about it. Frankly, in high school, none of my friends paid their younger siblings much attention. If they did, it was mainly to tell them to go away, get out of here, leave us alone. This made me feel a little better; Joey and my relationship growing up was somewhat “normal.” Cool.

His birthday years that I did mark in my journals reveal some interesting thoughts. Some are hilarious. One is insightful. One, I think I tried being poetic but forgot halfway through. I’m going to share these journal entries, complete with year, misspellings, odd capitalizations. Feel free to laugh at me all you like.

8-17-94 (I was 11, and Joey turned 5) — “… My brother’s b-day was yesterday. For it, he got: clothes, Bumble Ball, Step 2 car, and 3 “Play-a-song” books. … ”

8-16-96 (13 and 7) — (I was out of town visiting family for this birthday) “Happy B-day, Joey! Sorry I couldn’t be there! Mom says that he misses me; he kisses my picture. And Today when I called my house and talked to him, he went and looked out the window — as if he expected to see me coming.” (This is my favorite one, hands down.)

8-17-97 (14 and 8) — “… Yesterday, Cher had us all over for Joey’s birthday; her daughter Morgan is in love with him. …”

8-16-98 (15 and 9) — “Happy b-day Joey!” … I proceeded to discuss what remains, to this day, one of the most frustrating break-ups I’ve ever had. I describe the conversation in detail, and then, “… So I got off (the phone) & went downstairs to sing to Joey.” That’s all Joey got; the rest of the entry is like a play-by-play of me essentially saying “Leave me alone” to the boy, and the fellow saying “no.” He continued to call during the singing-to-Joey process. This was before cell phones so, yes, all these phone calls were to our house phone. My poor parents.

8.16.04 (21 and 15) — (I find this entire entry simultaneously embarrassing — good God, what’s wrong with me — and poignant because it’s pretty dead-on in describing the feeling in our house surrounding Joey’s birthday. We kind of hate it) “I wash dishes with apple blossom Dawn and watch the bubbles form clear shadows on the shade to clean the spatula from the birthday cake Joey cut but did not eat. He blew out 15 candles but did not lick the bottoms. He slept through the noisy beaters when Mom made the batter this morning, and we did not share the beaters — I got to lick both. He did not care he only had four gifts to open, and he did not care I wrapped a pair of shoes he picked out from Kohl’s, but I removed the price anyway. Mom put hours into a dinner feast of Italian sausage and cheese burgers, potato salad and lettuce salad (snort). Joey sat in the gazebo and ate hot dogs, of the Ball Park Frank variety, cut long ways and horizontally. She did it for her, to feel like a good mother. Joey didn’t care. The American men’s gymnastic team wins a silver metal and Joey smashes his face into a duck with soft like liquid water stuffing. (Joey loved it when we would take soft things, like stuffed animals or pillows or blankets, and rub them on his face.) He smiles, and the world is right for a brief moment.

Tune in tomorrow evening for the start of Joey’s birthday auction — he turns 21 Aug. 16.

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One Response to “Joey’s birthdays through the years”

  1. Angie August 4, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    Wow, the last one made me tear up. Joey is lucky to have such a wonderful family — and there’s nothing wrong with you. 😉 I can’t wait to see the results of the auction!

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