This Is My Best Birthday
Today is my birthday. Amazing how the excitement wanes as the years pick up speed like a G-force storm. My family was never into big birthday parties. Not like today, where if there isn’t a theme, or a designer that has been heard of, it is a signal of living on the lower half of the middle class. I carried on these traditions because I didn’t know anything else. Oh, we celebrated! But it was pool parties when the older brothers and sisters had friends that were not going to pee in the pool. My mom would make several platters of lasagna, a homemade cake, and that was it! They were good about getting one large present and some trivial necessary stuff. What kid doesn’t love a bottle of Prell for her birthday? That is a habit they continued for our entire lives.
When I finally got my year, a pool party like the big kids, I thought that the world had played a trick by slowing time down to a crawl. When the day arrived, it was like Christmas. I was up before the sun, and started to let my mind wander into the wonderful day in my future. I went to the kitchen, and my mom was making lasagna. Holy smokes! It was dark, what was she doing? It seems like food cooked so much longer back then. Have you ever thought that?
When I caught the whiff, my stomach rolled. I felt my forehead break into a diffuse waterfall of sweat. I ran to my room and lay down. I began my private system of "preventive vomiting." I do not know why, but throwing up is not an option for me. Unless I have absolutely no control, I will swallow and hold on for my life just to keep from heaving. It is crazy, because I feel better after, but it is my phobia. This was my 10th birthday, and I felt like throwing up. “No!” I hollered in my head very softly, without any lip or head movement, to make the nausea stop.
I woke up to my mom saying that my friends have come. I heard the pool splash, kids screaming, and all I could think of was my eyes hurt to blink. If I moved them even a shudder, the room would start to tilt making my day the worst ever. I didn’t see one kid, taste the cake, but I did hear them sing, but I did not throw up! Victory. That was my last party. Never cared much for the thought of them after that.
For the family that we have built, the boys that we have watched become men, their parties were the family. We have a barbecue, a cake, with a poorly sung rendition of “Happy Birthday,” and presents. More than not, Rob’s girlfriend proceeds to give everybody haircuts while I clean up. There is laughter, the possibility of an animal losing the contents of their stomach, but we are happy.
I was given tickets for Elton John first thing this morning, and three days with Kate. Every boy bid me happy wishes throughout the night, and I woke up feeling pretty good about diving into my 50’s. Don’t get me wrong, if I could be 40 in my body, but 51 in my experiences and knowledge, that would be Nirvana! But every decade I look back and have more to cringe about than celebrate.
What I do have is a fantastic family that loves me and puts up with my flaws. I have enjoyed the guys as adults the most! We just have so much fun! They have kept me young, and love has kept me balanced. Hope is the engine of my writing. What could possibly be better than that?