January 6, 2006
As I noted last year, my birthdays tend to pass uneventfully. Of course there were exceptions. When I was in the fifth grade my mom surprised me by gathering up my entire 5th grade class in the early morning. They surrounded my bed, as I slept and woke me with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. This would have been wonderful had I not been sleeping in the altogether.
My seventh grade party was also pretty good. We took over the Lufkin Skates Roller Rink Ranch and a kid named Mickey broke his arm while doing the roller limbo. I was kissed behind the rink by a girl named Pam (a fact which later led to my first real fight) and one of the older girl's boobs fell out of her shirt while roller discoing. It was a grand time.
But perhaps my most memorable birthday was the actual day I was born. Every year in certain parts of Mexico old footage of that day is played on the local news because on that January 6th it started snowing and the snow continued for 3 days. Snow in Dallas or Detroit would be no big deal, but in the state of Nuevo Leon snow was unheard of. Any snow would have been memorable, three feet was just unimaginable. The snowfall was the first in recorded memory and everyone went a little nuts. My mom always remembered it like this (from one of her letters back then):
[a little background, my mom was just learning Spanish and was in Mexico with my dad's family. He was in Vietnam. finishing his tour of duty]
It was very early maybe four or five am. I half sleeping, tired from the birth. Baby Raul was next to me in an bassinet, when a nurse came in the room saying "nieve, nieve!". I didn't understand. I said "no, no nieve." Nieve is the word for ice cream in Mexico and I didn't want ice cream. "No no" I kept saying. But she wouldn't stop pulling my arm. I was getting angry "No. Quiero dormir" but she wouldn't take no for an answer. I didn't want to leave the baby so I picked him up and the three of us shuffled to the window. Then I saw it. I saw the snow pouring from the sky in big fluffly flakes like it does at home New York. I felt it was all for me. For us. For me and the baby. A Christmas present. I stood there and for the first time began crying. Good tears. The baby looked at me with big eyes as if to say, don't cry, it will be ok and I knew that we would be ok. I stayed at the window all morning long.