When someone asks me how old I am I honestly have to think about it. And the reason I have to think about it isn’t because I’m old, even though I am very old, it’s because one year my wife forgot to throw me a birthday party for a whole year. She kept telling me she’d do it and for an entire year kept forgetting to throw me the party despite reminding her about it. A lot. Like, any time I could slide that into conversation.
Hey hun, should we do something next weekend?
Y’know, I have been waiting for a month of my birthday weekend?
Oh shoot, sure! We’ll figure something out.
We should do a get together!
How about my birthday?
That was like 3 months ago babe.
Yeah, and you still haven’t thrown me a party.
Remember when I asked you to take the garbage out?
Remember 6 months ago when I never had a birthday?
My wife grew tired of me bringing it up and I told her I wouldn’t let it go unless she threw me two birthdays… Instead she threw me one birthday and made my brother throw the other one, so I naturally did not stop teasing her. However, this year, she has been redeemed. She threw me a surprise birthday and invited my brothers, my nephews, and all of my closest friends. It was doubley awesome because, I had no idea any of it was happening. My brother and I took my nephew to a bomber museum and I got to share my love of all things aviation with him, which was super cool. And when I got home over the course of an hour or so my other brother and nephew arrived, Shrimptoast and her husband, Cam, M & Q, Ulfast and his room-mate. We played games, chatted, ate lasagna, and I got a pretty sweet recliner! It was awesome. It was my Ohana.
I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about Ohana, but if I haven’t essentially it is the unending and vital bond of a family. But in Hawaii, just as important as the family you’re born into, is the family that you find. And especially as this year has gone on, my Ohana has been so important to me. As someone who has been without a family for almost 5 years now, I can’t even begin to express the value I place on these people, these people who traveled for literal hours to be with me and to celebrate with me. And as I think on it now I have to fight back tears. One can’t help but see some inexorable and beautiful fate and chain of events. My best friend became my brother as things with my family began to collapse. Shrimptoast and I strengthened our friendship after my brother moved away. Exhonerated99 and I would grow closer and despite our friendship ending in a pretty brutal way, he would stick around long enough to introduce me to Ulfast who has become a fast and close friend where I live. My wife would bring me to Camp and despite my relationship with Camp souring, so many great friendships have been born out of my time there. And my wife wouldn’t be done there as she’d renew the bond I had with her brother and we would become, y’know, brothers.
There was a lot that happened to me over the years, a lot of pain, and hurt, but also good times. And this people, this Ohana, would be my saving grace. After talking with Shrimptoast I have decided to break my silence on some of my history with my family. Probably not a lot of gory details, but it’s some stuff that’s been weighing on me. It’s going to be part of my thing a day for the next week. But before I go… While I’ve been writing this the song Good Riddance by Green Day has been playing in my head, specifically the line “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.” Probably a million cornball videos have been made to that song with pictures over the course of years, and maybe one day I’ll do one of those. But these are the images that have stuck out for me over this year, and I’d like to leave you with them.
“UnBEARable thoughts” – My “Too Cool” bear’s thoughts on my birthday. He’s pretty stingy with the compliments.
“It’s my Birthday!” – I have no idea what board-game they were playing but it took ’em like 30 minutes to set up and explain it to the new person.
“Nice Shirt” – This was the waitress where I went for lunch for my birthday. She’s included because on the way out she hit me super hard and proclaimed “I was going to wish you happy birthday but I hit you super hard and now it feels weird.” Well nice lady, now it’s even weirder ’cause it’s on the internet.
“Commander” – My Nephew, livin’ the bomber life.
“Three Brothers” – A picture of the three of us when we took my nephews camping. Hoo-Rah.
“Beauty and the Roast Beast” – Shrimptoast and Hilad35 prepping for the next stage of filming. Funny story, basically half of all pictures of Hilad35 from that night include an apple in her mouth.
“The Dinner” – this scene would end up being the only one without like a hundred problems attached to them.
“I can Haz Crazy?” – Yes, yes you can.
“Just no” – I mean look at that face. Just look at it.
“Over Budget” – My wife was in charge of the filming budget. She was not happy.
“What’cha doin’?” – Ranger is the first dog I picked and not pawned off onto me because someone didn’t want to take care of their dog.