Birthday Blog

Hi!  I started this blog on my 42nd birthday and committed to writing for one full year.  I wrote more than a year, and then I stopped.  I cannot lie, when I was writing every day, I couldn’t imagine life without it, but when I quit, it seemed impossible to return.

Recently, two former students who secretly found my blog while in my class, tweeted that they missed it, the blog.  I realized that I missed it, too.

Thus, on my 47th birthday (yes, I am not shy–  I am closer to fifty than forty), I have decided to give it a go, once again.

For my first blog in a while, I would like to share my conversation with Carson.

Hannah and Olivia want me to blog.

So blog.

I do miss it.

So blog.

I know, but my back hurts.

So blog from the iPad.

I don’t have anything to say.

Sure you do.

You’re right.  I could talk about my fear of yoga.

Fear of yoga?

Yeah.

What is your fear of yoga?

Farting.

What?

I’m afraid I will get into some pose that’s supposed to open me up, and it will literally, “Open me up.”

Mom!  

The fear is real!  I must admit though,  two of the most euphoric days of my life involve the blog.

Wait.  Two euphoric days?

Yeah.

Involve the blog.

Yeah.

Not Dad or me or Lizzie or Maggie.

Um, well, yeah, those days were euphoric, but they weren’t about me.

Mom, you birthed me.  That definitely was about you.

Yeah.  And you and dad.  And definitely dad. It started with him, hubba hubba!

MOM!

Well, you started it.

I didn’t mean to start that?

Oh you didn’t.  Tequila may have.

MOM!

Sorry.  Anyway, I just meant the blog gave me an accomplishment that was all mine.

What days then?

The day I was Freshly Pressed and my April Fools blog.  I never felt so giddy in my entire life.  Each time, I felt like I had accomplished something.  Really accomplished something.

So write.

Maybe.  I think I will shower first.

Oh good God, you are a procrastinator.

No. I am not.  I am not procrastinating.  I am blogging.  To anyone who reads, thank you!  I will try to make you laugh more than I make you cry.  God Bless!

 

When It Is Your Birth Day, You Should Have a Party

My oldest daughter Carson and I are friends.  Yes, I am her mother, and I can make her cry on a dime if I need to lay the guilt on, but most of the time, I do not have to.  Most of the time, I like being with her and we carry on conversations like friends.  Today, we went birthday present shopping for the little boy she babysits.  We were invited to the party not because I have been friends with his parents for almost twenty years.  No.  We were invited to the party because Jackson told his mom that he wanted Carson on the A-list.

Carson and I headed to Target to peruse the aisles.  She knew going in that she was going to by Jackson a squirt gun.  Yesterday, while babysitting he described to her the ballistic missile of squirt guns.  He told her it had to have a range of at least 400 feet.  He said he needed to stand by his back fence and be able to squirt over the house– the house that is over an acre away.  He may be disappointed.  The longest range we could find was 28 feet.  I, on the other hand, was looking to theme gift.  Everything has to go together.  We walked around the store for over an hour while I contemplated Justice League, Angry Birds, Ninjago, or Skylanders.  I like for everything to go together, so I kept picking things up and putting them away, circling from toys to clothes to home office supplies time and again.

During this process, Carson told me a story about Jackson.  Yesterday, while explaining to her the squirt gun that he wanted, she asked him, “When is your actual birthday?”

“Sunday,” he said.  “You’re coming to my party.”

“You’re birthday’s not Sunday; it’s tomorrow,” his brother interjected.

“No.  My birthday is Sunday.  That’s when my party is.”

“No.  It’s tomorrow,” CJ insisted again.

“No.  Dad said my birthday is Sunday,” Jackson said annoyed with his brother.

“What is your birthdate?” Carson asked.

“July 12,” he said.

“Well, that’s tomorrow.  You are one day away from five!”  Carson was trying to lighten the mood.

She said he looked bewildered.  “That doesn’t make sense.  Why would I have my party on Sunday if my birthday is tomorrow?  Why don’t I just have my party tomorrow?”

By this point in the story, she was laughing hard.  She understood what I sometimes feel when talking to children: bewildered yet charged by their innocence and naivety.

“Mom, I hope he is having fun today.  He was really mad that his mom didn’t schedule his party on his actual birthday.”

“He’ll be fine,” I said.  I tugged on her arm where she was holding the squirt gun she was purchasing.  “Especially when he gets his special gift you are buying him.”

She smiled, a grown up smile: the smile that makes me proud I am her mom and happy to be her friend.

Thirteen is a Very Sentimental Number

I’m a little sentimental.  Not overly sentimental, though– I did not cry when any of my children started school.  End of the year activities do not make me sad, if anything, I know I am that much closer to having my children learn to take care of themselves, to having my children become independent thinkers, and to having my children blossom into the people they will be.

However, certain events do make me sentimental.  This week, my oldest daughter turns thirteen.  Besides for the fact that I do not feel old enough, responsible enough, or mature enough to have three daughters, I am boggled by the idea that I will have a teenager.  How is that possible?  When did she, and subsequently I, get so old?

I think of thirteen as one of the milestone birthdays.  You are officially a teenager.  No longer can someone look at you as if you are just some dumb, little kid.  You are old enough to babysit.  You are old enough to walk your sisters to the ice cream shop up the street.  You are old enough to responsibly have a cell phone.  Yes, thirteen is an age of reckoning, and I think it is important to celebrate it in some special way.

When I turned thirteen, my parents got me a very special gift.  For whatever reason, I thought pearls were the absolute most beautiful gem.  Every time I saw a movie star in pearls or a stranger in the mall, I must have mentioned it to my mother.  She took notice, and to my surprise, I received a pearl necklace for my thirteenth birthday.  I was speechless.  I knew how expensive pearls could be, and I could not believe my parents loved me so much that they would indulge my fantasy.  In addition, my brother, who was already in college and probably dirt poor, bought me Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Culture Club’s Colour by Numbers on cassette tape.  These albums were at the height of pop culture in January of 1983, and my brother was very aware of my love for music.

This birthday is one of my favorite memories because I felt like the ones I loved wanted me to feel like a princess.  I am sure in some way these memories influence why I think it is essential to buy Carson something meaningful, something that will make her feel special, too.

I decided to buy her a Pandora bracelet.  If you do not know what it is, it is a charm bracelet.  You purchase the bracelet, and then each bead is bought separately.  Pandora offers a wide array of decorative beads as well as beads for many occasions.  I like the idea that she can work on adding on to it for years to come.

Anyway, my original idea was to get her birthstone bead and a number thirteen.  However, the Pandora store was out of her birthstone bead and they do not even have a 13.  Corporate Pandora sees 16 as an age of reckoning, but they do not share my same feelings that 13 is important.  I was forced to peruse the book for ideas.

Oh, ballet slippers!  Yes, that would make sense– she has only been dancing since she was four.  Nope.  They did not have that bead in stock either.  Feeling slightly frustrated, I did find an emerald-green colored bead that had hearts surrounding it.  This bead seemed even more fitting than her birthstone because she has been a big part of my heart for what is going on thirteen years.

I knew I wanted her to have two beads, however.  I had to continue my search.   Page by page I looked through their catalogue while Tom patiently waited for my triumphant find.  I turned the page…. and there it was!  An elephant with the trunk curling up!  The hairs on my neck raised and literally, a tear entered my eye.  Carson is the only one of my children who remembers my parents, and she had a very strong connection with my mother.  She remembers how important elephants were to my mom, and she has developed a strong liking for elephants herself; a way, I assume, for her grandmother to stay alive in her heart.

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“Do you have this elephant bead?” I asked the kind sales girl who I could tell felt terrible that each bead I asked for was out of stock.

“Let me check,” she said.  She pulled out a box of beads and looked.  “Yes, here it is!  We do have it.”  She placed the bead on the counter, and I looked at it.  The hairs on my arms raised and I knew this bead would be special to her.

“I’ll take it.”

Close to $150.00 later, I walked out of the store feeling so giddy that it took everything in my power not to race home and give her the present immediately.  I was so excited, but no; her birthday is not until Thursday.   I could wait, I told myself.

Saturday morning I awoke, and luckily, I had a busy day.  I did not think much about the bracelet, well, until about 8:00.

Yep, I could not wait.  She got her gift yesterday.  She first opened the bracelet that had the heart bead on it.

“I love it,” she said.  She immediately took it out of the box and tried to figure out how to clasp it on.  I had the second box hidden behind my back.

“I am glad you like it, but before you put it on, maybe you should open this box, too.”  I pulled out the smaller box and she giggled.  She tore open the wrapping paper, and quickly opened the lid.  When she pulled out the little pillow, she sighed.  I could see water well in her eyes.  She was sitting in a kitchen chair.  “Oh mom,” she said standing and throwing her arms around me.  “It’s perfect,” she whispered.  “Grandma.”

That’s all she needed to say.