Archive for birthday

Maybe This Time

Adair,

It’s odd how January never seems like the new year to me. I’ve mentioned how my birthday is usually my marker for the beginning of a new year, both because July is a more optimistic time than the dead of winter, and it’s in line with my inflated ego to reorient the calendar around me. But there are other moments, my anniversary, the beginning of the school year, and Christmas that also make me pause and think about the year past and the year ahead.

If I had to look ahead right now, I’d be thinking about another year in New York. Another fall that just makes me feel like I’m in When Harry Met Sally, a winter that snows us in just once, a spring that begs for pictures in parks, and another summer sweating in the subway and longing for relief.

The next year is going to see a lot of new projects, and a push like never before to create things on my terms. Working with you has opened me up to working with other partners, and those relationships are beginning to blossom into new ventures that may well be “the project.”

Another year will bring another year of marriage and the wonderful joys and inevitable hurts of a life long partnership. We are also striving to create together, which brings us back to the army days of our friendship working together. This summer’s production of The Last Five Years reminded me of the importance of our creative connection and what beautiful richness that adds to our lives.

My apartment is changing layout and design, I’m changing my diet, having a car is changing our transportation, and the relationships in my life keep changing the creative means I have at my disposal. The next year is going to be one for the record books, no matter how it all turns out.

But why am I looking ahead in the middle of September? What marks this as a moment of reflection and resolve? I’m giving pause right now because in a year we won’t be writing these letters. At the end of this month, we will be finished with this project and moving on to another. I won’t begin to tackle what that means in this letter, but I know that whatever comes next, we’ll still be bothering each other about it every week.

Same time next year?

-Dan

Sometimes A Day Goes By

Adair,

July is the month of birthdays. Yours, mine, Harry Potter’s, my father’s, Hugo Chavez, and my wife’s (her’s is today, in fact).  Everyone is getting older.

Each year around this time I write lists of goals for the coming year, make promises or declarations, and just think on the year to come. I don’t usually look back at all. I try to always be thinking ahead. I dream in the future, and I actively try to forget the past. Because I’m getting older and time marches on.

But last night my wife said something that struck me. As the clock turned to midnight and I wished her happy birthday she said, “so ends my twenty-something-ith year” (I have redacted the exact year).  And she had a moment of quiet reflection on the past trip around the sun. And as I so often do, I’m now going to follow her lead.

The end of my twenty sixth year is hurtling towards me like a comet made of cake and cards. And among all the merriment and ruckus celebrating, I feel my declarative nature stirring and the need to remake or reclaim myself in this new, untainted year that lies before me. But instead I’m going to force myself to look back and think on where I have been.

This year was challenging financially, rewarding creatively, and abundant with friendship. The heartaches and anxieties of the world and the terrible things we have witnessed have shaken me like never before. Fear has come knocking, but I’ve done my damndest to give it the boot. But the challenges of the year are outweighed by the blessings, which I think could be said for most of my life, and for that I am thankful.

My previous years lay out before me like old friends waving as you drive off towards new adventures. And over the next week or so I’m going to excavate the years gone by and see what treasure I can find. But for today I think on the past six years since my wife entered my life, and I am glad to be remembering.

Your gift is in the mail,

-Dan

Friend of A Friend

Dan,

Today marks the day that you graced the world with your presence and I, your second biggest fan, could not be more thrilled that you are a quarter century old. It seems like since I met you life has been moving rapidly forward and I am just trying to keep up. One of the few constants in my life is how thankful I have been for the friendship we have shared these many years. So today I wanted to talk about a pleasure you will never experience, what it’s like to meet and befriend Dan Crary.

I had heard your name often before I could connect a face to it. Missoula is a small city and there is an illusion of everyone knowing everyone else. I knew you were a singer, an actor and an all around decent guy. Our mutual friends had delusions of us getting together since we were the only two single friends they had.

I remember meeting you and knowing immediately that you would make a really good friend but that there was no way we would ever date. This is in no way an insult to you as a person, I just felt comfortable with you as if you were a sibling I didn’t know I had. I remember spending time at our friend’s house, watching movies and chatting about all the things we had in common.

The day I finally decided we must be friends is the day I heard you sing, “Let it Be” and it made me cry. I know it’s a weird reason to decide I needed your friendship but I sensed you got something about me that I couldn’t put into words. Of course that also means I didn’t tell you so we actually didn’t become friends for another year or so.

Our mutual friends moved away, I graduated college and we occasionally ran into each other promising to hang out soon. Unfortunately, we were really bad at follow through. But by some weird twist you and I became neighbors and really had no excuse not to hang out. We ate, we discovered even more similarities to each other, I watched you fall in love, you watched me to fall out of love and Clark wore that one robe every time I came to visit the condemned basement in which you resided.

Then we both left Montana and that could have been it. It’s easy to cut ties to a place you wanted so badly to leave, to stop the phone calls and texts and other reminders of what once was. That could have been our conclusion but it wasn’t, with our respective moves we made our calls longer and our messages more thorough and we continued to grow. I was granted more knowledge than I ever thought I could learn about you, ours is not a fair-weather friendship that dissolves with distance. It is a comradery that we needed to grow into and will continue to do so.

Somehow, without us noticing, we have become family.

Your Forever Friend,

Adair

This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody)

The less we say about it the better/Make it up as we go along/

Feet on the ground/Head in the sky/

It’s okay I know nothing’s wrong…nothing

Dear Courtney,

While I do not know you, we share a common place: Missoula specifically and Montana in general. We also share a common acquaintance: Adair. Given that today is her birthday, I can think of no better topic.

To call her an acquaintance is a bit of an understatement on my part. Adair and I met in Missoula, on this day 27 years ago. I cannot speak for my two-year-old self but, based on pictures, I was pretty happy to have her around. Our childhood was by most accounts idyllic. We grew up in a small but vibrant college town surrounded by intelligent and loving people.  Our days were spent pouring over books, playing with dolls and scouring the nearby stream for interesting rocks. We were cared for and we knew love.

That does not mean we got along. Our history is full of harsh words and slammed doors.  It didn’t help that we were close in age and liked the same activities. There was a constant undertone of competition in our relationship. She wouldn’t leave me be and I wouldn’t give her any credit.  We were inextricably tied to each other as family but we were not friends.

The first time I moved to Seattle, I was relieved and exhilarated. I was free of the confines of my small town and the people who knew me too well. My intensive conservatory proved more demanding than I’d bargained for, and I soon found myself pining for visits from my annoying family. During my Sophomore year, Adair came to visit me on her own and I noticed an ease between us that hadn’t been there before. The distance allowed us to see that we were allies in the world, not enemies.  This growing bond proved essential two years later.

Our mostly sunny upbringing came to an abrupt end on a gray day in January when our father announced (via email) that he was leaving our mother after 25 years. Where Adair—sweet, egalitarian soul that she is—would tactfully skirt this issue, I will not. Our family fell apart that day without warning.  I was a thousand miles away with no way to return. It would be over a year before I saw my sister again. That time is a tearful blur to me, but I remember her voice on the other end of the phone. Even when the voice faltered or fell silent, I was comforted that she was breathing on the other end of the line.

Those calls were a lifeline in a time when I had little else. We vowed that regardless of what happened to our family we would stay together. And so it was that my younger sister also became my best friend. Our calls carried us through love, heartbreak, a marriage, and many, many moves.

I have since been back to Missoula, even stayed in my childhood home. It was a sad and lonely affair, revisiting the memories embedded in those walls. Everything had changed and I wished desperately that I could protect the little girls we were from feeling this loss. But I can’t.

Change and loss are inevitabilities in all our lives. We pick ourselves up only to fall—or be pushed. The challenge of life is to pick yourself up, time and time again.  I count myself lucky because I have someone to help me. When I was younger, dreaming young dreams, I knew it must be a man—someone handsome, capable, intelligent…strong too, because I fall often. Now I know it is my sister, who is intuitive, determined and forgiving…also strong, because she’s well rounded like that. The world will continue to churn and change around us. Others will walk in, out and away. She will always be there to lift me up. To search the stream for the most interesting rock.

Adair’s Sister,

Ann