September 20, 1999 – Spending the evening getting Seth’s Birthday card and present ready. Sitting in my sister’s bedroom surrounded by American Dolls and flowered wallpaper a smile spreads across my face because I have a brilliant idea. His favorite song at the moment is “All-Star” by Smash Mouth. So I decide to make a tape-recording of the song playing over and over again. That way, he won’t have to rewind the tape as often. He told me just the other day that he could listen to that song forever. Well here I am making his dreams come true.
Waiting for the song to record, I dump my markers out on the floor, fold a blank paper in half and begin block-lettering ‘Happy Birthday Seth!’ in my best 3-D letters. I know I’m a horrific artist, but go ahead and draw a giant cake anyway. At this point we’re really into homemade cards as opposed to store-bought – they’re much more personal and we’re cheap.
The next day as the Birthday Boy opens my present his blue-grey eyes light up as he exclaims, “Hey! All-Star!” He looks up at me with that signature-dimpled smile and I know I nailed it.
September 21, 2012 – My alarm goes off at 6:20am as I make the slow ascent back to consciousness. Recognizing the tune coming from my radio while I float somewhere between asleep and awake. Thoughts and memories start to connect as my eyes flutter open and realize, “All-Star” by Smash Mouth is playing.
I roll over and smile. Happy Birthday, boy. I love you.