An Unexpected Birthday Wish

12 Mar

Yesterday was my 27th birthday. I say this not because I want attention or congratulatory statements, but because that is the event that sparked the story I’d like to tell today.

Birthday wishes and greetings have changed substantially in the past ten years or so. I used to receive these greetings in the form of phone calls, a decorated locker and *gasp* snail mail greeting cards. Yesterday, I received three birthday phone calls, five birthday text messages and 28 birthday messages written on my Facebook timeline. In a way it makes me sad, that a hastily written message prompted by a reminder on a Facebook homepage has seemingly replaced the time and effort required by an actual phone call. But, on the other hand, Facebook birthday greetings have their perks. It allows for birthday greetings from people I wouldn’t normally receive greetings from. Former coworkers, vaguely familiar high school acquaintances, college dormitory friends, and, for me, a greeting from my first “love.”

The year was 1996 and I was in fifth grade. There was a boy in my class who flirted with me as much as children know how to flirt; I helped him clean his desk (because he was widely unorganized) and he chased me on the playground. He eventually confessed that he was “crazy” about me and I admitted that I was “crazy” about him too, despite the fact that I knew one of my friends had a crush on him. It was quite scandalous. He wrote me my first love letters (which I still have), made me my first gift from a boy (a dreamcatcher, which I still have), and bought me a bucket of popcorn (which, sadly, I do not still have; that popcorn was delicious). This boy boldly held my hand at the local skating rink on our end-of-year field trip, despite the mocking and razzing of our fellow classmates (“Andrea and _____ sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G…”). Our relationship was playful, innocent, and full of childhood dreams. Sadly, it ended that summer, as elementary relationships tend to do, but I’ll never forget that boy.

Facebook has allowed me to stay in remote touch with this boy. We don’t talk, chat, or actually communicate in any way, but his face occasionally pops up in my news feed and yesterday he wished me a happy birthday. Hearing from this childhood friend brought a smile on my face as only memories from my youth can do, and it brought on a myriad of other memories from a freer, simpler time (like the summer in which myself and my three best friends all for the same boy; ironically, this same boy, but that’s another story). I think it is amazing and beautiful that social networks like Facebook allow us to maintain contact with people who might otherwise be erased from our lives, even if this contact is a superficial one. It brings me peace of mind to know that our relationships in life, fleeting as they may be, are memorable, even if it is just on a birthday.

And to this boy, if he’s reading this, thanks, and may your desk always be clean.

 

 

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