88 Lines About 44 Birthdays
Of course, I forgot about it until last night. There wasn't any preparation put into this, meaning this isn't anything like the song that inspired it. Rather, it is some ramblings about what memories I carry from the past 44 years that don't quite add up to 88 lines. The title was too good not to keep.
Year one involved spitting up on Alfred Hitchcock*
He probably found that scarier than those birds in his movie
My siblings probably liked the fact that finally,
someone had a summer birthday to spread out the cake distribution
Year three was the last as the youngest
Giggles arrived the following February
Four was the year that I decided I was going to drive mom's convertible
out of the driveway into the street
For my fifth birthday, a party and a gift of a Hoppity Hop
that my sister popped about an hour after the party was over (oh, how I cried!)
Six was the strangest birthday ever since we were in the midst of moving
Divided among relatives homes, we gathered for my cake at Nana and Papa's
Seven was another party at my grandparent's
and a picture of a gap toothed kid blowing out that 7 candle
Eight was the weirdest birthday because I had an allergic reaction at the garden supply store
and took a nap while my friends had the birthday dinner with my family
No memories of number nine, number nine
But there was probably Carvel cake, the gift of some Nancy Drews and a pool visit, too
The first visit to NYC that I remember came for birthday ten
A trip to the top of Empire State Building, Cattleman East lunch and the Magic Show were the gifts from Dad
Eleven was the year that we repeated the ride to the City
and went up to the top of the Statue of Liberty
Many of the years between were a blur of beach visits, movies, parties with family
Hey, any excuse for a cake and the clan will gather!
For 18, I got a huge sunburn on one side of my face,
so the dinner with just Dad was spent with "Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind" jokes
21, finally legal (for the second time) and my friends got trashed at our favorite bar,
while I stayed sober-then got sick on the spritzers my brother kept buying me 2 nights later
22 found me in another state
with coworkers who baked me a huge cake
most of the birthdays in my 20's meant coworkers gathering in my home
having drinking games, laughing our butts off and not remembering squat later
Those days, the birthdays had far away goals
"done with kids by 30" was the one I had in mind.
Instead, for birthday number 30, a wee little Game Teen in my arms
tried to reach for that Carvel Cake while I blew out the candles
Birthdays definitely change when you have the kids
Instead of it being about what what gifts people will buy, it shifts to those intangible things
Of hugs, kisses and smiles from the kids
seeing their joy at making you happy with their scribblings or helping Dad with the birthday trappings
The gift for number 33 was rather special
Chef was due on my birthday, but I was impatient and figured a kid shouldn't have to share-so I asked to have my present delivered six days early...
A lot of things have happened in the years in between
Things have changed (like our locale)
Things have stayed the same (like my love for the 80's songs that inspired the title)
Plans have altered
Career paths changed
But none of that has changed that
I've got a good man beside me, and we've got kids that make me crazy and happy
I've got damn good friends
reconnected with even more of them
And finding their words of celebration in my in box this morning (about 88 of them, in fact) was one of the coolest things one could ever ask for.
So, as I said, 44. Not young, not old.
But pretty darn good for all that has happened and for what lies in store.
If I'm lucky, there will be 44 more...
*I'd been told quite a few times by both parents that they had the occasion to meet the legendary director when I was about a month old and I vomited on the man. No clue how that came about or how they handled it-but if he were alive today, I'd apologize for it.