I was born at 12:01 a.m. on July 5th. My mom thinks the clock in the room was wrong, or that I would have been a July 4th baby if the doctor hadn’t been on his coffee break. Maybe. I may as well be a July 4th baby, anyway. Growing up, I never really had birthday parties; they all would have been overshadowed by July 4th cookouts and celebrations and firework shows. A lot of friends always ended up being out of town. Still, I had a great birthday every year (…well, except for my fourth birthday, but we won’t bring up that visit to Chuck-E-Cheese). I almost always spent my birthday in California with my family.
I grew up in Texas, but I was born in California, and pretty much all of my family was out there. Growing up, every summer, my mom would take me to Los Angeles for weeks to visit with my grandparents, uncles, aunt, and cousin, Dane. Dane was an only child like me, so we easily fell into the brother-sister love-hate relationship that defined so much of my childhood. We bonded over baseball, argued over whose turn it was to do this or that, climbed the hill in my grandma’s backyard, and looked out over the California suburbs, talking about things that made us feel much older than we were.