Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Bittersweet Birthday Listicle

Now that I know that a link party and a key party have nothing in common, I can totally play it cool. Well, as cool as I ever play it. The topic of the week for Monday's Listicle is "Birthdays." It's not my birthday; that was just the selected topic. Let's dive in, shall we?

1.  My first birthday: I don't remember it, obviously, but somewhere there is a picture of my diving into my first birthday cake. I wish I could remember, because it was probably the best cake in the history of ever, and it's no longer considered polite for me to smear cake all over my face for the sheer joy of it. The other people in the restaurant are always SO judgmental about that.

2.  My 6th birthday, I totally melted down because I'd made a mistake in Simon Says and done something without Simon saying. I just remember feeling so angry at myself because I knew better, and wanting to turn back time so I could get it right, but feeling so out of control of the situation. This is how I imagine Tweak feels when he goes into full-on Tweak mode, which thankfully is not that often anymore. But then in the end, there was cake, so, winning.

3.  My 9th birthday, I had a slumber party at my house, with a dozen screaming, wiggly girls. We watched the Dukes of Hazzard and Dallas (I think it was right after we found out who shot J.R.), and then my dad told ghost stories about Blackbeard that probably weren't such a good idea because some of the girls got freaked out and couldn't sleep. The next Monday when I got back to school, nobody wanted to be my friend anymore, and I never could figure out why, and that was my introduction to mean girls.

4.  My 10th birthday. I wanted so badly for Trey Tinch to come to my birthday party at Roll-A-Round Skate Center. You could invite 10 kids, and I invited 8 girls, then another boy who I liked as a friend (who showed up) and Trey (who didn't). I spent much of the time waiting to see if he would show up, instead of perfecting my backwards skate. Lesson learned. And, of course, cake. As an aside, if Tweak gets invited to a little girl's birthday party and says he'll go, he is freaking GOING.

5.  My 16th birthday, I wanted to have a party at my house and have everyone come and maybe possibly for one night feel remotely popular and less like a dork. High school was not the miserable experience junior high had been (as evidenced by the fact that I've blocked most of it out). I got along with almost everyone, but I wasn't cool. It wasn't the life-changing magical event I'd imagined, but a group of my good friends did come, and we had fun, and I realized it was just OK not to be cool. I remember that the cake was particularly awesome that year.

6.  My 18th birthday, my boyfriend and best friend got permission from my parents to sneak into my house when we weren't home and toilet-paper my room (decoratively) so that it would be waiting for me when I got back from a weekend college visit. There were also cake and presents. I wish I could find a picture. I felt really loved and appreciated and special that day.

7.  My 21st birthday, there was a lot of drinking. That's all I remember. I had not yet developed decent taste in alcoholic beverages, so I'm sure the evening involved Everclear punch out of a red solo cup and doing the Humpty Dance in a frat house. Hmm. I guess that could be tonight's cocktail. No, I'm not going to drink it. I couldn't even tell you what's in it, which is probably just as well.

8.  30th birthday: I was in Uganda, just outside Kibale National Park. We'd seen chimpanzees earlier in the day, and that night went out with a ranger to look for bushbabies. Bushbabies are really cute.

When we got back, the man who ran the trekker lodge where we were staying had made me a pineapple birthday pie, and the other guests lit candles and sang me happy birthday. Not a bad way to say goodbye to my 20s.

9.  My children's birth days were, of course, life changing. I remember their first cries, seeing them and calling out their names to them, holding them for the first time, crying, feeling vast reserves of love breaking open inside me that I didn't even know were there.

10. My 40th birthday this year, McDreamy sent roses to my office. I love when he does that - I'm a sucker for the romantic gesture. My office staff, despite being in their 20s and probably considering me just short of senior citizen-hood, were actually pretty cool and didn't do any over-the-hill crap, which was a relief. They did get cupcakes. I didn't really stumble much over 40, because there's so much about it that's liberating - all the angst of trying to find myself is gone, but I'm still young enough to do something with all the insight and experience I've gained.

So, there you have a fairly impromptu listicle, and it's still Monday in the western time zones. Enjoy!


  1. Pretty darn fabulous all and all. I love how you listed it and between the first on and Uganda one life is rather marvelous. Too bad those mean girls did not know how cool you actually are!

    1. Thanks! Of course, now I want cake.

  2. Love roses sent to work! How sweet!

  3. Awe roses at work are awesome! And the red solo cup picture is so true:)

  4. One year for my birthday, my ex-husband either ordered (or, more likely, had his secretary order) 18 enormous red long-stem roses delivered to my office. Having forgotten said order, he (or his secretary) ordered ANOTHER 18 red gynormous roses delivered to my office on the same day. (The bouquets were delivered by different florists at different times on the morning of my birthday, so I figured the double order wasn't just an overwhelming show of love by my ex.) In any event, my office was about the size of a bathroom stall and the roses totally covered my desk, making quite a display. I was new at the law firm, and everyone commented on the huge bouquets of roses as they passed. I got tired of explaining that the double delivery was a mistake, so I began responding, "Oh, this bouquet is from my husband, and this other one is from my boyfriend." It was a nice fantasy, but it led to a lot of weird looks from my coworkers!

    1. That's funny - messing with people's heads is always so amusing. Though once when a colleague was settling up a lunch tab and had a wallet stuffed full of ones, and I asked (jokingly) if he'd been frequenting strip clubs, he turned beet red and refused to discuss it. Oops!

  5. Wow! Uganda....that sounds unforgettable.
    I love this line you wrote about your children's births: "feeling vast reserves of love breaking open inside me that I didn't even know were there." A very beautiful description.

    1. Thanks! It's really hard to find the words for something like that - nothing is ever quite adequate. Of course, the next day there was the hormonal freak-out about the fact that they were actually expecting that I would be capable of taking this small person home and not screwing it up, but that's a lot less Norman Rockwell. :)

  6. Your 18th birthday--I helped L and M in the decorating of your room. :)


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