07 September 2012


My birthday is coming and I cannot seem to not plan. I picked a venue, I have a cake design in mind, I am planning the invitation. Nothing can stand in my way. Nothing, that is, except my husband. “I thought I would take you to dinner at the Italian restaurant with Nic and Duncan,” he said the other day. My heart sank and then melted. I was so consumed by my own planning that I had not considered my husband would have something in mind. I love that idea. I think that is a fabulous idea. But I still want a big party with a big cake and 30 blazing candles.

I get a little over-excited about my birthday the older I become. I think it has to do with the amazing kid parties my brother and I used to have. All of our friends would come over, my mom would cook and bake the most amazing goodies. We played lots of games, opened lots of presents and everyone went home with prize bags. The parties dwindled as we got into school and family birthdays were celebrated less and less as we aged.

In 1984, my soon-to-be little brother encroached on my territory and was nearly born on my birthday. Since we are only three dates apart, we had a lot of joint parties growing up. I don’t think I always liked the joint party idea but maybe I was young enough to accept the party sharing philosophy.

I don’t remember any birthdays after I started school. I remember my mom making sugar cookies shaped like pumpkins that my brother and I would take into our classes, but I don’t remember doing that after the first grade. I remember going to sleepovers at my friends’ houses, but I do not remember having sleepovers at my own house. My 13th birthday is blank. My Sweet 16 was nothing. I think I had dinner and cake with my family. My 18th birthday…no, nothing.

I took my first shot on my 20th birthday. My dorm roommates across the hall gave me a lemon drop in an effort to corrupt me. It was my first alcoholic beverage. I liked it but not enough to add drinking to my list of hobbies. I was a good girl.

On my 21st birthday, my university celebrated homecoming. For most people, that would have been fun. In my college town, however, it was more like a nightmare. My town had 5,000 people when school was in session; no one in Ada, Ohio, lived in Ada, Ohio, without a connection to the university. When I was there, we had one bar on Main Street – the Regal Beagle.

Homecoming weekend meant a lot of people – a lot of alumni – and a lot of bouncers who were not so keen on letting in underage people like they did any other day of the week. Since I was the first in my off-campus house to turn 21, none of my housemates could go with me.

Luckily, Paul was in town.

This is funny for anyone who knows me because Paul does not drink. He hates bars, he hates loud music and he hates crowds. Luckily, he was madly in love with me at the time so he agreed to go to the bar with me so that I could have my traditional first drink.

It took an hour to get from the door to the bar inside and, if you can imagine how small the town was, you can imagine how small the bar was – it was just that packed. When I finally made it through the mosh pit to the wood-topped bar, I ordered a Long Island Iced Tea. I am not sure why I chose this to be my first drink and, after my first sip, I regretted the decision. It tasted like vomit. I was highly disappointed. We left.

Paul made it up to me with a nice dinner and a very special card. I hope I never forget the scene. We were seated in the living room of my sorority house. The room was light, with soft, cream carpet and cream-colored furniture – a sectional and a couple chairs.

Paul sat on one side of the room and I sat facing him against the far wall. He had my gift in a bag on the floor and he pulled out a card. He then opened the card, took the time to read the card right in front of me, laughing at what was written. Then he signed the card, slid it back into its yellow envelope, licked the seal and threw the card across the room.

When I opened the still slobbery envelope, I saw “A BIRTHDAY POEM FOR YOU” was written at the top.

“You make me chuckle happily
and grin from ear to ear,
each moment that I check you out
and gaze upon your rear.

And when I see your sparkling eyes
my heart is filled with joy,
my blood starts pumping faster
and my hormones cry ‘OH BOY!’

Whenever I lock lips with you
or touch your face and hands,
activity increases in my reproductive glands.

Every time I’m in your arms,
I’m thinkin’ ‘This is sweet!’
‘Cause you’re the special someone
who has made my life complete!

Love You…
Happy Birthday!”

When I was young, my mom did a good job making birthdays fun. Paul made birthdays fun again. 

1 comment:

Van said...

We usually agree, but I'm going to have to against you on this one. Drinking is awesome. It's what makes humanity tolerable and possible.