when october hits, i know it will soon be easter. because ricky turns 30 on the 24th; i turn 25 on the 22nd; tom turns 33 on the 30th. somewhere inbetween, we're eating candy, stuffing turkeys, unwrapping gifts and then all of a sudden we are toasting champagne glasses and kissing cheeks and trying to remember the words to auld lang syne. january we are putting everything away--the christmas tree, the fine china, the new underwear and socks, the holiday cds that were shifting on repeat for a month. february we are forgoing our resolutions and deciding it's okay to eat that much chocolate and drink so much caffeine. and then it's mom's birthday and, two weeks later, dad's. on april fool's day we are celebrating the day they were wed, and then it's easter. straw baskets, colored plastic eggs and honeybaked ham. spring.
the years start feeling less like years and more like weeks, days, minutes. mathematically, it makes sense. when i was 5, a year was one-fifth of my life. now it's 4%.
and this is when i miss them most. birthdays meant sneaking around the house weeks beforehand and conspiring behind closed doors. when you woke up, there would be a mountain of gifts and cards on the dining table, and that night, we'd have ice cream cake and noodles for long life. halloween meant dumping your candy on the carpet and making trades. want: smarties, sweet tarts and gobstoppers. reject: almond joy and mounds. we kept our bags on the top of the fridge and i stuffed two handfuls in my lunch bag each day. of course, my brothers always had more loot than i did; they got to cover more ground. thanksgiving, christmas and new year's eve: party, party, party. no, you cannot go to your friend's house. yes, you must get dressed up. allright, just a little champagne, and stop hitting your sister during mass.
now, i'm old enough to have a couple beers with them and stay up past midnight. i am settled enough to buy them more than another gray, gap sweater. i am brave enough to carry on an intelligent conversation and argue my points without backing down. but instead, it's e-mails back and forth, phone calls and timezones, big post-it notes on your mirror so you don't forget. amazon wishlists, UPS, care packages, rainchecks. happy this, merry that, i miss you, i love you, i'll see you soon.
i don't know.
good, because it's been so long, and it's not the same without you.