Today, I quietly turned 28, in perhaps the most understated birthday I've had in recent memory. I didn't plan myself a party because I was expecting to just be returning from Germany and I didn't want to go through all the effort while I was jet-lagged. Similarly, I didn't really make any plans to go out, aside from scheduling a dinner with my parents at my favorite restaurant. I didn't ask for any gifts, so I didn't really receive any aside from some new clothes (though Mom did promise me a new camera as soon as I finally decide what kind I want), and between being sick and being busy over the weekend with Easter, I haven't even baked myself a cake yet. Twenty-eight just didn't feel like a milestone birthday to me - perhaps this is a sign that I am getting older...

Nevertheless, my father came through this year in a big way with his annual birthday poem. As I've written in the past, my father has written me a poem for every Valentine's Day and birthday since I was relatively little.  I treasure this gesture, but this year, his creation was especially clever. It was easily the highlight of my admittedly meager festivities, and I thought I would share his work with all of you in the hope that it will brighten your day as it brightened mine:
After several attempts to make a start
At trying to say what's in my heart,
No need this year to pontificate:
Haley has turned Twenty Eight!

Why harass her with my point of view?
Why lecture now what she should do?
Make a statement she can't debate:
Haley has turned Twenty Eight!

This wouldn't work at 27 or Six:
There aren't enough rhyming tricks!
Tell her something to which she'll relate:
Haley has turned Twenty Eight!

Sure, she costs me a ton of dough
And at times gave me plenty of woe
But today is a day to celebrate:
Haley has turned Twenty Eight!

It's great she has escaped the void
And left the ranks of the unemployed.
It's time she began to participate:
Haley has turned Twenty Eight!

And what about finding her true love
As if the guidance came from above?
So what if she found him on a computer date?
She found him before she turned Twenty Eight!

Her man has charm and lots of dash
And what couple doesn't sometimes clash?
Haley has found her true soul-mate
At the ripe old age of Twenty Eight!

May the year ahead surpass the year behind.
May you enjoy all the blessings you may find.
May you search boldly, and seize your fate
In this, the year you turn Twenty Eight!

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