LeeLoo, the family dog, is missing. Well actually, she’s not the family’s dog. She’s your brother’s dog, but she’s been your brother’s dog for about 11 years now. So really, if we’re all being honest, your weird, furry sister is missing for three days now.
You feel the familiar feelings of dead and unretreivable pets. You feel the familiar feelings of being so very far away and unable to contribute anything meaningful besides a few encouraging texts and lies of “I’m sure she’s fine, having the time of her life!” You feel the familiar feelings of God telling you that you are so not in control. Of anything.
But ultimately, this isn’t really about you. It’s about you’re brother. And his dog. And the way the world feels like an upturned snow globe today.
Tranlsation: Twenty-five is briefly living upside down with fake snow pouring down and then back up around you before you can ever get your footing. (Oh, it’s also living in a hard plastic dome that you don’t see until you bang your head into it. So, you know, be careful.)
So listen. I was going to surprise you and fly to Lafayette, but Ashlie beat me to it. And what’s worse, she brought an adorable grandkid. I can’t top that. (Although, if I came home with a grandkid, you would be surprised.)
Then I thought I’d make you a book and mail one page at a time for 60 days. That seemed grand. Except, I started calculating the postage and it added up. It’s not that you’re not worth $29.40, it’s just that I also don’t have 60 envelopes.
After that, there wasn’t much time because I’d put all my thought into the buying a plane ticket and the piecemealed book idea. And The Walking Dead is back on, so that ate up some time (pun intended).
I decided, that maybe I wasn’t playing to my strengths. My strength is writing (yes, and eating. Thanks. That’s hilarious, Dad.). I considered writing something sweet along side my favorite picture of us on Facebook, but then I remembered you don’t have Facebook (which I still completely support by the way).
So then what? A card? That seems too simple. Not your style. And also, I should have mailed it days ago. So here we are. And while this may not be the most private of ways to wish you a happy birthday, I think it can only increase your fan club after Rinse the Damn Dish (from and the floor was always lava, on sale now!).
People will be like, wait, is that the same Dad that had all those rules in your book? And I’ll be like, yeah, Dude, I only have one Dad. And then they’ll be like, so is your book still for sale? And I’ll be like yeah, in both paperback and ebook formats via all major online retailers (on sale this holiday season).
So here we are, Dad. You with your brand new renewed license and me with too much time on my hands. Today, on your 60th birthday, I hope this brings you joy, laughter, and slight discomfort. For that is the Junot way.
* * *
One. I loved hearing all the stories about the women you dated including Betty Crocker. I loved hearing how you proposed to Mom. I loved the way you reenacted it in front of all of us without her even knowing. I loved that we have always had a part in your love story.
Two. I hate when you try to flirt with Mom in front of us. It makes me nauseous.
Three. Do you remember the morning we were running late for camp or school or something of that nature, but you insisted we eat breakfast? You made a table out of a cardboard box with holes for our legs to slide under and rings for our cups of chocolate milk so we could eat in the car. It was not a time-saver in the least, but it was my favorite day.
My birthday is kind of a big deal. I’m obnoxious about it, really.
When I was four, my parents made the mistake of bringing an almost-five-year-old to the happiest place on earth: Disney World. I spent the entire trip asking about my birthday party that would take place back in Louisiana at the end of the week. I was looking forward to homemade chocolate cake and the Happy Birthday song (which I now hate) and my nanny.* I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, shut up about it.
And now I’m 25.
Twenty years later, I still felt that same kind of excitement surrounding my birthday. Well that mixed will a little bit of nausea.
When I confessed my slight-maybe-I’m-a-little-nervous-about-25 fear to my friends (who are all older than I am), they struggled not to laugh or roll their eyes. Yeah…that’s a big one they said, all bless-her-heart-like.