My youngest niece, Alejandra, recently turned 4 years old, and since I chose to go to college in a different state and my weekends are far from open, I was not able to attend the festivities. My sister first notified me of the plan to host Alejandra’s birthday at Bounce U, a big bouncy spot in the Bronx, a good 2 months ago in the worst way possible... a text.
Sure, we all text nowadays since talking to people on the phone seems to have grown out of style, but it wasn’t just the fact that it was a text invitation. It was the fact that it was a generic text invitation, received by any and all of her other friends. The worst part is that she knew I wouldn’t be able to make it.
So basically, since August, I have been waiting for the inevitable onslaught of Alex’s birthday pictures on Facebook. During this waiting period, I have managed to experience three existential crises, all to do with the age-old dilemma of what I will do when I graduate and if what I foresaw myself doing as a freshman still holds true.
It doesn’t, but that’s not the point. The point is that I find myself about to be a newly christened 21-year-old who will have the freedom to buy alcohol, go to clubs and anything else that was exciting when I wasn’t 21, but I can’t make it to Alex’s fun party at a bouncy house. I stress that it was a bouncy house. It wouldn’t have been my first time there since her older brother Cirillo had his birthday there during the summer, but it just sucks to not be there for hers.
Then on top of it all, they all are growing up so quickly! They are already starting to read, speak in coherent sentences and correct me when it comes to things they know everything about (also known as the Transformers, Teenage Ninja Turtles and Frozen). Like they know more about Frozen than I do. Okay.
Speaking of Frozen, in the midst of all of the birthday photos, you can see my Alex dressed up in all of her Elsa regalia. Ever since Frozen came out, Alex and I have been fanatics. Prior to Elsa, she didn’t have a favorite Disney Princess, although she would claim Rapunzel sporadically.
So seeing the pictures of her in costume, I imagined the conversation we would have been sure to have about how she was Elsa now for sure and I would have to go find some other princess to be.
As I browsed through her birthday pictures I noticed that in all the photos of her she had developed a new favorite pose, a slanted peace sign against her cheek, which was most likely learned from her pre-teen older sister. As if the pictures weren’t enough reason to miss my family and wish I was back home already, her aunt from her father’s side posted some videos of her belting out the Frozen soundtrack.
This little girl is a certified performer — she had the whole room captivated with her passion for the lyrics, and there were several other people documenting her performance on their cell phones. Obviously, having spent the whole summer chilling with her — even going to Disney World with her! — wasn’t enough to wait for Thanksgiving to see the family.
After liking every picture that my mom and sister posted of the party and binge-watching her performance a few times over, I figured I would call them let them know I missed them and blah blah blah. Naturally, none of them (sister, brother, dad and mother) were available.
My parents and brother were too busy checking out what they later referred to as a wack scary movie, Annabel. And, of course, my sister always has something wrong with her iPhone, so her not answering wasn’t too surprising.
It wasn’t until the next day when I could talk to my mom that she told me some family asked for me. However, I was more concerned about whether Alex and Cirillo specfically had asked about me because then I knew it would be real. Turns out they were the first ones to ask. After I got off the phone, I booked my trip back home for fall break.