You are four years old today. So: Happy Birthday! But also: Happy Mardi Gras! The last time Mardi Gras fell on the 21st of February was in 1950, which was not only before you were born but well before I was born. These dates will line up again in eleven years, for your 15th birthday in 2023. It happens again in 2034 and 2045, eleven year intervals. Beyond that I’m not sure; I haven’t found any calendars that calculate beyond 2050. I don’t know what’s up with the eleven year intervals either. Weird stuff.
So, how does one celebrate a birthday on Mardi Gras? We tried to tie in with the number four for obvious reasons. We thought about the four seasons and the four directions but ultimately settled on the four ancient elements. You know the elements pretty well. After all, they’re in the lyrics to one of your favorite songs:
Earth, water, fire and air
We may look bad but we don’t care
We ride the wind, we feel the fire
To love the earth is our one desire
(The astute culture critic will have no trouble identifying the origin of these sublime verses as that eco-goth trio par excellence, namely The Hex Girls, as seen in Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost. Only a pedant would quibble that we’ve changed the word slightly. The actual lyric references “earth, wind, fire and air,” which of course conjures images of a certain funk-soul act from the 70s. But wind and air are pretty much the same thing, and everyone knows water was one of the four ancient elements. What’s up with this blatant anti-waterism?)
So for this Mardi Gras you masqued as Air, you mother was Fire, I was Water and your virtual uncle James was Earth. Of course reality was a little more complicated; we were joined by an additional Water, played by Catherine, not to mention your grandmother (my mother) who didn’t dress as anything particular but was a most welcome addition to the festivities.
As for this last month of your life, you’ve accomplished many firsts. You composed your first poem, drew your first representational drawing, and sent your first e-mail.
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So much more to relate, but I’m exhausted from a full day of traipsing round the city in costume. Perhaps I’ll come back and edit this later. For now good night and lots of love.
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Happy Birthday, Persephone! What a big girl!
I have a Mardi Gras calendar that goes up to 2100 and the last time it falls on 2/21 is 2045.
Happy Birthday!! Wow, four years has flown by quickly. I actually came to your blog tonight looking for your post on techniques for helping her sleep as an infant – it doesn’t seem like so long ago.
Mardi Gras birthdays are the best! I had a couple of them growing up – I think one on the day and two within a day or two – and my mom baked king cake as birthday cake for them.
I made her king cake recipe for Clay’s birthday this year even though it was a little early.