As those of you who know me know, I do not look forward to birthdays. Don't get me wrong I love other people's birthdays, just not my own. My own birthday carries with it a stigma that isn't a reminder of a happy time. My mother passed away the day before my birthday six years ago. For the last six years I've tried to forget and get others to forget my birthday. As that isn't actually taking hold, I've decided to try this experiment. I will tell a story of birthdays past every day till the day arrives in the hopes that by that day I will be so filled with birthday excitement I'll forget to be sad. (I'm getting older and I do forget things now, it could work right?) So with that said let me start with the 30th.
The year is 2002. I am pregnant with my last child. In those days my birthday was a week long event. Actually now that I think about it, my birthday was always a week long event. We would start talking about it early, to decide the important things first. If you know me the important part is always the food. Gifts are nice and all but food is my favorite. So that year I had been thinking steak. My mom was working two jobs at the time and was busier than a dog trying to chase it's tail in reverse. She worked at the factory she had worked at for as long as I had been around but she had also become a realtor, often times trading sleep for the next big sale. Because she was too busy to go out of town to my favorite steak house it was decided that we would stay in town and go local.
I spent weeks thinking about steak. Anyone who has ever been pregnant or known someone pregnant knows how this works. You get it in your head that you need a certain food and that's all you can think about. Just to be clear I did do a better job of behaving myself during that pregnancy, mostly eating a lot of salads and fresh fruits and veggies. I also spent a lot of time disgusting my husband as I started eating zucchini and tomato sandwiches. (Don't knock it till you've tried it. Fried zucchini then fresh sliced tomato's and a little mayo on toast. It was awesome! Not that I've tried that without the pregnancy.) So for me to get in the mood for a steak was a big deal.
The day finally arrives and my husband was at work and meeting us at the restaurant and my mom came to pick me and my girls up. We get in the car and she says she needs gas. She goes the wrong way to get gas. So I'm informing her that the gas station and the steak house is in the opposite direction as she is going. She tells me that she forgot and likes this other gas station better anyway. So we get gas and I'm thinking this through, something is amiss. I know she is tired but she's acting different. Like she has a secret. OH NO! She gets back in the car and starts heading in the opposite direction again, then I see it. A sign out in front of a hall "Happy 30th Birthday Heather". Thank goodness she didn't put my last name. So I turn to her and say "so it's safe to say I'm not getting steak?" She smiles and says "no sorry." So I walk in and everyone I know is there of course. I cry and make a blubbering idiot of myself. My best friend drove all the way from Indy to be there, which makes me blubber more. And of course there is no steak but chicken being served.
It was embarrassing and wonderful at the same time. Embarrassing because hello I do not need it advertised that I've crossed over to the next decade and the twenties are over. But wonderful because everyone I loved was there in one place and that hadn't happened since I was a child. I don't remember all the gifts I was given, I remember the huge cake of course, food is a big deal to me remember? I do remember my Eeyore Christi got me because she remembered how much I loved the feel of it's fur when we'd go to the Disney store. I also remember that for one day everything was good. For one day I felt loved and maybe not so scared to be starting over with another baby, because as I looked around and saw the faces of my family and friends I knew that I was loved. I also knew that it would have been a whole lot easier for my mother if she would have just taken me to get that steak, which she did, a few days later.
And there you have it. The last perfect birthday. I might add that she was pretty proud of herself for pulling the whole thing off. I did have it figured out while getting the gas. I suppose that is better than knowing well in advance. Pay back I suppose for that was the year she turned 50 and she had had a small party of her own to attend that year.