What is your favorite birthday memory? One of mine is of turning eight. The thing I really desired, more than anything, was a stuffed, plush snake. As odd as that may sound, they were all the rage with my friends at the time—long, fluff-filled pieces of fake fur with a wide head, felt tongue, big eyes and long eyelashes. It was the very definition of “cool” to have one curled up on your bed…at least to an 8-year-old. It was really the only thing I wanted that year. Sure, Barbie dolls and books were welcomed, but I reeeaaalllly wanted that stuffed snake. So when my younger sister sidled up to me on the afternoon of my birthday, and asked, “after you open your snake, can I play with it?” I was shocked by how disappointed I felt. Why was I sad to find out that I was getting my heart’s desire? Was it that I didn’t want a snake as much as I thought I did, or was it that she had ruined the delicious anticipation I had been enjoying--building up to the birthday dinner, then cake and presents? With as much introspection as one can handle on their eighth birthday, I decided it was the latter, and glared at my sister throughout dinner. But just a few hours later, all was forgiven when I opened up the package containing my beautiful, ice-blue, plush snake. Joy hit me full-force--it truly was great to be eight.