Tuesday, March 30, 2010

(Birth)Days of Yore

Like I said, my birthday is a big deal. At least it is to me & my parties were an even bigger deal. They weren't a privilege they were a necessity, as far as I was concerned.

Let's take a walk down memory lane and relive my birthday parties!

One: Of course I don't remember this one. I've seen pictures. I'm pretty sure there was a bunny cake (how appropriate) and cupcakes with jelly beans. My hair was a complete mess. It was a lot when I was about that age, in snapshots and professional pictures. I guess combing my hair wasn't a priority.

Toddler years: I can't tell you about specific parties. I know there were a few at McDonald's. McDonald's was a big deal and I loved having my birthday parties there. They did cakes then and they were truly disgusting, but I thought it was the best thing ever!

5, 6, 7: These are a blur as well. I started having "friend" parties once I got into school. I loved being a hostes and sharing my special day with my girlfriends. I remember one in particular, I think I was 8, I had a giant party at my house with something like 12 girls from school. One of them, let's call her S, was always kind of a little snot. Some days she liked me and some days she didn't, but I invited her to my party anyway. I don't remember what she did, but she made me cry at my party. Seriously, kids can be ass holes. All my friends were outside playing on my swing set and I was inside having a childhood meltdown over something S said or did to me. I didn't invite her to any of my parties after that. We were never close...

8: Oh! My eighth birthday. I was in rapture over The Little Mermaid. I wanted to be princess Ariel and I often sang myself to sleep with "Part of Your World." So I asked for a LM themed cake. Of course my mother obliged, she didn't say no a whole lot especially where birthdays were concerned.  That was the year that bakeries discovered whipped topping, you know, like cool whip flavor. I hate cool whip. They iced my cake with it and didn't tell us. I guess we didn't get an option because they clearly thought it was fabulous. The candles were blown out, the birthday song was sung and the cake was cut. It was nasty. HUGE disappointment! Luckily we had cupcakes leftover from my party at school so my mom put candles in those & I blew them out while everyone sang the birthday song to me again. Can you say spoiled?

9 & 10: I get these confused. All I know is that somewhere in there my mom took me and as many little girls as she could fit into her Chevy Nova to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My brother went too and took a friend. We were way past max capacity in the Nova. Also this was the age of New Kids on the Block. I asked for their tape (ya, that's right, cassette tape) and a boom box to go with it. The Christmas before Josh had gotten this huge boom box. Like the kind you saw people carrying around on their shoulders in the movies. That's what I had in mind, but I ended up with something much smaller and with inferior speakers. No matter, I still played the crap out of that NKOTB tape.

11-15: These were the years of sleepovers & giggly pre-teen and teen games. Usually I would go out to dinner with my family or have cookouts at our house and then I was allowed to have some girlfriends over for a night. For some reason I didn't want huge parties when I was this age. I find that odd since I've always liked to be the center of attention.

16: This was the first birthday that I knew Julie. She threw me a party at my house. It was supposed to be just friends, but my mom refused to do something separate for my family and insisted I invite them too. It was totally lame. Not because of Julie, but because my mom made me invite my family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, younger cousins. Sorry mom, I love my family and all, but I was 16 and that was not cool. Family isn't cool at 16. I ended up leaving my own party to go walk around walmart with my friends. Why walmart? Because that was the most exciting thing there is to do on any given night in my hometown. Still is, except now they have Kohl's too.

17: At 17 we revived the big blowout party. Cooking out and cake and so many people at my parents' house that we had to eat inside and outside. Good thing my birthday is in the spring. I think this was the first year of cooking steaks for my party. Yes, I said steak. My grandfather thought my birthday was just as big a deal as I did and he would have nothing but the best for me. So starting a few months before my birthday he started buying steaks. Whenever he found them on sale he'd stock up and by the time my party rolled around we had enough to feed everyone. And I have a big family. He also did bbq chicken a couple years per my special request. He made the world's best bbq chicken and he couldn't tell me no even if it meant getting up at some crazy hour like 3 am so he could start the whole process because he had to go to work the same day as my party. Spoiled or loved? You decide. 17 is also the year I got my license. I was terrified to drive so I put it off as long as I could. My big present that year? My Jeep. The very same Jeep that died last year in my car crash. Moment of silence...

18: I decided I was too old and mature to have a birthday party. A cake was fine and some gifts, but I didn't want to make a big deal out of it. I also had just started dating Andy and decided that I'd rather him take me out that night than spend it with my family. My mother didn't let on, but I'm sure this crushed her. Andy was very sweet though. He brought me flowers and gave me a copy of Patch Adams, the first movie we watched together. Then he took me out to see some awful Madonna movie and were were both sorry we wasted the time and the money.

19, 20, 21: My 18th birthday was a hard lesson. I had a nice time, but I missed the hoopla. More cookout parties to celebrate my birth! I loved it. I was completely too old for such big birthday parties and I knew it, but everyone obliged me and my birthday falls at that point past Christmas where we all start to miss each other again. So it's like a family reunion/birthday party. For my 21st birthday my friends snuck into my room at college and decorated it with purple streamers. They also bought me a cake and waited inside my room for Andy and I to get back from my birthday dinner. We had gone out to one of my favorite places which happens to have fantastic carrot cake. I said I was thinking of getting a piece and Andy told me he didn't think that was a good idea. He, of course, knew my friends were waiting with cake and a surprise party, but he couldn't tell me. He came up with all kinds of excuses for me not to get that carrot cake until he finally sacrificed himself and said, "You've been saying you want to lose weight, so maybe you shouldn't get the carrot cake."  I didn't get the cake, but if looks could kill we wouldn't be married right now. Bless him.

22: I went out with my friends to a local restaurant for this one.  They told the waitress it was my birthday and she made me stand up in a chair while she announced to the whole place that it was my birthday and then everyone, my friends, the waitstaff, the patrons all sang to me. She also gave me a giant brownie with ice cream except that I had given up dessert for lent that year. So I didn't eat any, but I sat and watch all of my friends take a bite. Torture.

23-27: At this point I have mastered the art of stretching my birthday out as long as possible. While I love having a big party and seeing everyone together for my day, it's just one day. These last several years I haven't done a party. So since my family and friends know how special my birthday is to me they make a point to celebrate with me. Just not all together. That leads to several birthday lunches/dinners out, multiple cakes/desserts, and lot's of present opening opportunities. It's pretty awesome!

Up next: Twenty eight

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