Journal
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the birthday book.

When I was in grade school, I often remember my mom sitting at the kitchen table reading. Whether it was the newspaper or a glossy magazine, inevitably she would flip to the horoscopes section. I’m guessing she would read her own and then maybe my dad’s next. She would get to mine and to my brother’s. Depending on what ages we were, or what was happening in each of our lives, maybe the sequence of this changed. Out of plain curiosity, or just superstition, she seemed very attentive to those little paragraphs. If I was in the room, she would fill me in on what she’d learned. There was always revelation in this planetary peek.

We had a ritual of going to a Chinese restaurant on Sundays. We’d all take a seat around a too-large table and eat, often wordlessly. Just lots of slurping and crunching. The best part was at the end when the fortune cookies arrived. We’d crack them open and laugh and share about becoming rich one day. Or about looking over our shoulder for some vague misfortune. Forecasting and superstition became part of my grey matter.

Throughout college, my mom and I talked on the phone quite a bit. If I happened to be describing a situation about someone newly-significant, she would listen and then at the end she might say something like: and you know, he’s Aries. Usually, I didn’t know what that meant not having followed the stars and planets so diligently. But I believed her. And I also took to reading horoscopes on occasion.

So it’s no surprise that when I first met my husband and we had dinner at his place, I found this mega-anthology of birthday insight on his bookshelf. Over the years it’s become a measure of what’s happening in our lives. Reading about each other’s birth dates, for the first time, and being thrilled over the discoveries. Reading it alone for that same reason. Reading our children’s on each of the days they arrived.

It’s so much fun to sift through and completely addictive. You can learn about the special name given to your actual day of birth. Mine talks about childlike fancy. You can also find out about strengths, weaknesses, and other famous people born on the same day. The best parts are the universe’s take on your personality, and how and whom you love.

This winter has been long. There are times I’m not even sure I’ve looked up from the daily hustle to think about time, place and space. So in this moment that I am doing just that, I thank my mom for the gift of introspection, my husband for the discovery of the birthday book, and the universe for giving each of us something to follow. Happy reading.

{Goldschneider & Elffers, The Secret Language of Birthdays.}

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