Thursday, January 08, 2009

On turning 37

I am not quite sure when I hit my mid 30's. I still feel as though I should be in my 20's. I have moved past that time in my life where I was sure I was still a teenager. An awareness of mortality and little beings that call me "mommy" did that for me.

37. How did I get here? (And if you are like me you are now humming a particular Talking Heads song.)

I remember when I turned seven. I was in the first grade and my parents invited all the little girls in my class for a sleepover. The things I remember... Anna (who my sister adored) got scared and her parents came to pick her up. All of our sleeping bags (many were Strawberry Shortcake) lined up. One girl wet her sleeping bag. Pancakes, pancakes and more pancakes the next morning. And we never did a birthday sleepover again. My sister got the short end of the stick on that one and this is one of the few things that I got, but my sister did not.

I remember turning eight. I turned eight on Jan 8, 1980 and I thought that was so special. We had a small party with about five girls and two boys who I was friends with. I went through the spanking machine. We rented a thing called a VCR and a movie, Xanadu. You could pause the movie and rewind it (we did this to watch the dance scenes over and over) and you could rewatch the entire movie as many times as you wanted. One of the boys, Dusty, bought me a weaving loom and I loved that and was going to make high fashion for all my dolls and someone somewhere might see them and I would be famous for my fashions. I also got my first Barbie that was all my own (I had my mom's old Barbies whose heads popped off from about 20 years earlier). She was the first Barbie with bendable legs and a princess. I wasn't much of a princess girl myself, but she was special and I still have her in near perfect condition (except for the one chewed foot courtesy of our dachshund Inga) in her original dress. I had a cake with red icing and for years after I got to hear details about Shannon's throw up from eating my cake with red icing. I was sure she blamed me.

The next party I remember was the year I turned 16. Without telling my mom I went around and "invited" or suggested to my friends that they come to my house to "hang out" that evening. I didn't have anything planned other than going out to pizza with a couple of friends that evening. Little did I know but my friends were in cahoots with my mom and she had thrown a "surprise" birthday party to me. When we got back from dinner I was glad to see that all the people I had told to "stop by" were there! It didn't even dawn on me for a little while it was a surprise party. That year my stepmom and dad drove my present down - 100 one dollar bills rolled up and tied to a small tree. It was my own personal money tree.

Then there was number 17. I was dating Greg then. My mom invited Greg over for dinner and we opened gifts later. I had wanted a pair of pajamas that weren't so much little girl pajamas anymore. I wanted satin pajamas. My mom picked out a pretty pair of green satin pajamas (boxers and a tank top) for me. I was so embarrassed when I opened them up in front of Greg!

21. Oh birthday 21. Knowing I went to college in a party town you might assume birthday number 21 was a big whopper. It wasn't. I had recently broken up with Scott. My relationship with Scott was all encompassing and I didn't have other friends to party with. Scott and I still lived together and so he (my ex boyfriend) took me to The Rio Grande for dinner and margs. I had one margarita legally and was good for the night. If you have had Rio Grande margs, you understand.

31. I was fairly new in my job as a post-doc and had been at the lab for about 8-9 months. There was a tradition that you bought and brought in donuts on your birthday in my building. I bought a big box of donuts and did like everyone else did in putting a sign on them saying, "Happy Birthday April" and plopped them in the lunchroom. I never heard another word. Not even my mentor came to my office to wish me a happy birthday. I went by the lunch room early that afternoon just to see if the box of donuts was still full and that was why no one had come by to wish me a happy birthday. There were three craft guys I didn't know sitting in there chowing away at their donuts from the now empty box. "Someone left donuts!" they said. "I did," I replied. "Oh," they said, "were we supposed to eat them? Shouldn't leave them sitting in a lunchroom if they aren't for everyone." I replied softly, "that's fine, you can have them". Since that day my expectations for my birthday from people I work with has been nil.

37. My family and my online community rocks. I had a long list of wishes on Facebook and my two forums. My mom called me. My sister called me and my dad called me. My MIL bought me an awesome Smartwool sweater that I love. Skadi woke up happy and was easily pliable with clothes after she picked out her outfit (short sleeves) and I suggested a sweatshirt - her favorite Alaska sweatshirt - to go over the top. Leif practiced singing me Happy Birthday this morning, but only for practice not for reals since we didn't have a cake. AB moved the kids' easel to where I would be certain to see it and wrote a big Happy Birthday message on it for me. I bought a pumpkin spice latte and hot cocoas for the kids on our way in and even remembered the sippy cup for Skadi. She talked about "cocoa" all morning long. We got home and after the typical nightly routine AB gave me my gift - a moonstone ring from Sundance and then cake. We blew out the candles umpteen times and then ate my delicious Baskin Robbins cake. And now my husband is waiting for me to come watch Top Chef. Can't ask for much more than my birthday with those I love most.

I am fine with my 30's. 30's are a good and happy place.

40 might kill me.

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