Over the years May 27th has been a day filled with history, tears, joy, and sadness. In 1679 the Habeaus Corps Act was passed in England, which strengthened peoples right to challenge unlawful arrests and imprisonments. A rather good day in history. Then in 1940 British and French troops begin the evacuation of Dunkirk for Operation Dynamo during WWII. Also in 1969 the construction for Walt Disney World begins, a place every child dreams of visiting.
That is just to name a few events that have happened over the years on May 27th. But a special year was back in 1990 when a young couple rushed off to the hospital to bring their first child into the world. The baby came out screaming with lungs of steal, boy was she loud. That was already 26 years ago today. What has become of that loud baby?
Well for starters that child is me and yes I am still loud enough to never really need to use a mic. This year was my 26th birthday. I feel old but I know I’m still young. I know that I never thought I would be at my 26th year mark. That I should still be the 23 year old me that I often feel like I still am. I know that I am mature for my age. I have been told that I am wise beyond my years. I also think more of the future than most do at my age. Resent days my mind has been a swirling sea of thoughts since I have passed another year mark on my life’s calendar. What have I got to show for it?
I’m not going to boar you with stories from each birthday in my life time. That would just be ridiculous. The first stories of my life would be about me projectile vomiting all over the place anyway, but that’s besides the point. What is important is the years after high school, college and so forth.
I graduated high school when I was 17, in the year 2008. A week or so later it was my 18th birthday and was a day I spent with my best friend at the time Linsey. We went to the twin cities for a Panic! at the Disco concert. Mom had wanted me to stay home to go out to a casino with her and my Dad, because I was now of legal age to gamble. Instead I chose to go to the concert with my friend. The two of us had a blast! We got to see new opening bands, a few of which I grew to like, and saw Panic! perform live. But would it have been better to stay home with my family? A question that I ask now myself, at the time I had never second guessed myself.
Fast forward a few years, I have been in college for a year or two and my birthdays have been on the lame side. May 27th is around Memorial Day weekend, the weekend of family camping fun, at least in my family. It also is summer break. Everyone already packed up and moved back home for the summer. I had a few gathers during college. Most of which had been laid back and chill.
Then came the year of my 21st birthday in 2011. I invited family and friends for a night out on the town. Well, as night out as you can get in St. Cloud MN. The bar scene is on the normal end for a city whose college is know as a party school, floors are sticky and one bar at least has a few dancing polls for the drunk “adults.” My b-day crew hit up a nice somewhat fancy Italian restaurant. I had pasta and shared a bottle of wine with my Mother. After we got our fill we all headed out to celebrate me and my special day. The best part about the night was that my awesome 41 year old mother was out with us till bar close (2am in the states). She was a dancing and drinking the night away right there with me. It was a memorial night, one I’ll never forget.
After that night most birthdays paled in comparison. Friends would get together and drink way to much or eat out but without the party gear, like streamers, balloons, and birthday cards, it’s just not the same. I started to question if I should even celebrate the day that marks my birth. Is it worth it? I am just getting older, no need to make a fuss. Questions like this really came to riddle my mind the year my mother passed away.
It was 2014 and Mom just turned 44 that Febuary. Her party was a nice family gathering of smiles and cheer. There was of course cake, because we all know that Mom couldn’t put sugar down! The year before was when we all learned about her cancer diagnosis. That same year we lost her mother, my Grandma, Mary.
Just 40 days before my 24th birthday we had to say good bye to my sunshine. My Mom passed away April 15th, 2014.
How was I to expect the family to celebrate a birthday when not long before the family lost something precocious. I couldn’t, I didn’t even bring it up. I just hoped for a quite day, nothing out of the ordinary. In true Hayes family family style they didn`t let that stop us. My Grandma Betty made sure family knew about my birthday, My sister Michelle went about ordering me a cake, and Dad made a wonderful grilled dinner for us all. My brother hugged me and everyone wished me a happy birthday.
It was nice and better than I anticipated, even if my sister did make me cry as I cut my cake. She had messed up ordering the ice cream cake from DQ, I got a solid white ice cream cake. It was a dark spot in my day.
From there birthdays came and went. Last year I had to renew my Drivers license, which I forgot about until last minute. The picture is horrible. I had just finished a 9 hour day at my job. I had ice cream cake that I ordered for myself and a bonfire with roasted hot dogs and s’mores. Grandma and grandpa joined in, along with my two younger siblings to make the time fun and memorial, but most of all relaxing.
That bring us to this year. The date was May 27th, 2016. I’m in Japan with no expectations or big wishes. I have already received more than I feel I should. Students whom I thought wouldn’t know that it was my birthday erupted into the happy birthday song at the start of class. Students, friends, and family have written, sent, and mailed messages and cards to me. I have gotten silly little gifts from teachers. Poster messages, handmade picture cards/books, and special gifts from others. I have had over three cakes! I’m already so thankful I don’t know what more could bring me joy!
I won tuna rice potage from 7/11 that morning and later some fruit. I was surprised just from that. Then also the day before my birthday and even still true today, days after, I haven’t been able to walk through the hallway without someone yelling “Happy Birthday.”
Since the passing of my mother I have learned what it truly means to be grateful for what we have and receive with in our lifetimes. I have also learned to be more of the true me, that it is okay to be who I really am. I also try not to let people who waist my time control my life. I have learned to enjoy the little things. That joy can come from a smile and not the objects we think we need.
My students have also taught me a lot about myself and life. Everyday they teach me knew important things. To them I will always be grateful. So, while in the past I had my moments of being whinny and selfish I have grown a great deal. The idea of a bad birthday is just that, an idea. You have to be the one to make it special.
In the 26 years that I have been living I have accomplished so much more than I have messed up, been angry, or failed at. I have been in many different play productions, both as an actress and a musician. I have graduated both high school and university (even if it did take me forever). I have been to Canada, Germany, Austria, and South Korea. I am currently LIVING and WORKING in Japan! I have had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with hundreds of thousands people from all over the world and of different backgrounds. I tried out for a signing contest in Japan and passed each round, I’m going to be on Japanese TV! I know and love so many wonderful people in my life. I’m also one bad ass aunt!
I am Amanda Hayes a 26 year old young woman who has had many bumps in the road, but so many great life adventures. I look forward to how ever many years I have left. May each birthday be filled with many messages of love and friendship as they have been in the last few years. Thank you everyone, may we celebrate each year we have left with a smile. In the words of my sassy Mama, “Chins up and smiles all the way.”