My birthday is coming up (in just under two weeks). In general, I dislike birthdays. The fanfare makes me anxious. As with all gift-giving-and-receiving events, the pressure to perform is high. For instance, for my seventeenth birthday, my parents gave me a solid oak filing cabinet. I still have it – it’s a beautiful piece of furniture, and I’ve used it since I was seventeen. But seriously, Tom and Linnie? What were you thinking? First, who gives a seventeen year old a filing cabinet? Second, who gives a seventeen year old a filing cabinet?
And when you’re already a pretty nerdy kid, how do you explain how your seventeenth birthday went?
Daddy was in New Zealand and called me on the 3rd thinking my birthday was the 4th, (and it’s actually on the 5th.) Mums got violently ill. I locked my keys in my car twice in the same day, in the middle of a rainstorm, and used up my entire AAA Idiotic Driver allowance. And then, as a gift, I got a filing cabinet.
When the oak vessel was finally presented to me, I think my eyebrows went up into my hairline. I actually refused it at first because, well, see above.
I make my parents sound like jerks, and they’re NOT, nor do I want to imply that I think they are. My seventeenth birthday was just a shitty series of events. My father was half a world away, across the Interntional Dateline. Now that I travel like that too, it is obvious how someone could mess up a date. And their thought process with the cabinet was: She’s a prolific writer, and she takes notes. She’d probably enjoy a private space in which to store this stuff.
Thirtysomething me gets that. Seventeen year old me wanted something more…seventeen.
This year, around the time of my birthday, the Women of Winesday and I are running the Napa Valley Marathon. The synergy of wine and running? Long weekend away with the girls? Yes. This is the perfect celebration.
But I also thought more about it, since I inevitably get asked: What do you want for your birthday?
I reply: Nothing.
And then I wind up with a solid oak filing cabinet. So to preempt another such age-inappropriate travesty, I will tell you exactly what I want for my birthday: I want you to support what I believe in. What follows is a list of charities to which I donate, and which I hope YOU will also consider supporting.
1) Team for Kids: As I’ve mentioned ad nauseam, I run with the official charity of New York Road Runners, and will be fundraising for the 2012 NYC Marathon. TFK raises funds for critical services provided by New York Road Runners Youth Programs. These programs combat childhood obesity and empower youth development via running and character-building programs in low-income schools and community centers in New York City, throughout the country, and in South Africa.
2) Angiosarcoma Awareness: We recently lost an amazing educator, Pete Pew, whose rigorous academic method and challenging curriculum encouraged me to become a lawyer. Donations can be made in his name here.
3) Bideawee: This is where I got Roo. They do terrific rescue work, and take in animals from kill-shelters.
You are a hero for donating. There are obviously a number of other groups to which I donate time and resources. And the ones listed above are merely suggestions. If you have a charity you love, please donate! For my birthday. For Lent. For whatever reasons you can think of. But my desire is that you make a contribution to a charity you love. (Or that I love, depending.)
And if you’re still not happy with these suggestions, well, I am looking for a new nightstand.