Thursday, January 7, 2016

My Best Birthdays

I've had a lot of good birthdays.  In fact, I can't actually think of a bad birthday.  Well, there was the one where we had a freak freeze and I had to cancel my party because no one could safely drive to my house.  But I seem to remember slip-sliding around the neighborhood, pretending I was an ice-skater with Shannon and my sister instead.  And we already had the cake so I ate a lot of cookie cake that weekend.  Plus, we rescheduled the party, so it wasn't really ruined or anything.

Nope.  I can't think of a bad birthday (and I'd thank you not to remind me of one if you remember).

In honor of 38 pretty great birthdays, I thought I would share my all-time, top four best birthdays.  Now, that is not to say that the other 34 were not awesome.  These are just the ones that stand out in my memory every January 7th as 'remember how much fun that one was!'

Also, I'm 38 now and my memory seems to be fading.  I may have legitimately forgotten some of my birthdays.  It's okay if you remind me of the good ones, if you want to.

So, in a particular order, being worst-best to best-best, here are my top four birthdays:

4. My 13th.  Nothing that happens when you're 13 is awesome, but this birthday party was.  Shock and surprise, M and I shared a party, which helped make it awesome because she was a cheerleader and I was awkward with a weird haircut.  We were able to rent out Aunt Shawn's apartment clubhouse and host quite a grown-up party with nibbles and drinks (soda) and our parents in the other room.  My mom came out and forced us to slow dance with the boys, which I pretended to hate, but I secretly loved.  I felt like I had crossed the threshold into TEENAGER.  It was totally rad.

3. Another birthday featuring M.  I don't remember how old I was turning, but it must've been somewhere in the 5-7 range because we were still in 'the old house' on Central Church Road.  I had what might've been my very first sleepover with several friends from daycare.  Kasey Chambers came.  Even at six-ish, she was already cool.  She knew how to tie her shoes and everything.  We were allowed to watch TV in my parents room on their waterbed which was EPIC!  At some point, Kasey thought she saw someone at our living room window and we all commenced screaming and running around the house, equally terrified and thrilled.  I was certain it was my dad playing a joke on us.  I asked him about it once- it wasn't him.

2.  Oh, you would like another example of a birthday party with M?  Okay (you probably thought I was exaggerating our birthday friendship in yesterday's post... I wasn't).  Our 30th.  At Taco Mac (thanks, Heath).  It was supposed to be a surprise party but it wasn't.  But I had a surprised face for fun.  I was not looking forward to it because I hate the Devil's Den (aka Taco Mac) but we ended up having a lot of fun.  I don't recall feeling very well afterwards... it must've been food poisoning.

1.  My number one all time favorite birthday was when I turned 20 and my sisters of AGD threw me a surprise party.  M was not at this one.  My suite mate asked me for a ride to Wal-Mart and I gladly obliged because I had a million and three things I needed but could not afford with my $300 credit limit.  I kept hopping around the store, remembering this thing on this side and this other thing on the other side which I desperately coveted.  SM (suite mate) began to get impatient, so I hurried... ish.  When we finally got back to the house, I noticed all of the lights were off and the door was ajar.  'We're about to be murdered,' I told her.  We pushed the door open and the whole of the house screamed 'SURPRISE!' and I almost had a heart attack and died right there.  But it was so awesome.  I had assumed everyone had forgotten.  I was dawdling at Wal-Mart because I was too sad to go back and just sit in my room feeling sorry for myself.  Meanwhile, my amazing sisters were being amazing.  Then there was a pie in my face.  That was less amazing... but still funny.

I thought just for a moment about including my 21st birthday- it's a pretty important one, usually.  I was lucky because some friends came down from Maryland to spend it with me.  But... I got that food poisoning again and I tend to talk a lot when I get food poisoning and I'm rather embarrassed about all the talking I did on that night.  Plus, I have never felt so bad in my life as I did after that birthday party... so we'll let that one slide.

My birthday bowling parties deserve an Honorable Mention- all of them- because that tradition was a lot of fun while it lasted.  It may come back to life next year as my kids are old enough to get in on the bowling action.

All in all, my birthdays have been fantastic and wonderful and I feel smooshy with happiness at the thought of them.  I am thankful for friends and family who have made my life so special and I hope that I am able to do the same for you in your life.

What's your favorite birthday party memory?  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

On the Eve of my 38th Birthday

The eve of my birthday is as special as my birthday because it is also the birthday of one of my best friends.  I was lucky enough to meet M when I was a wee babe, a life-changing event that I don't remember in the slightest.  We went to day care together and I'd like to say that our friendship was evident even from the young age of two, but more than likely, we were sort of lumped together because our birthday's were so close.  "Let's celebrate them together!" someone probably suggested.  "We can't have two days of cupcakes!" another said.  "That's too much sugar!"

Perhaps our mothers, early on, had the same thoughts as our beloved Central Church caregivers.  "They can't have two birthday parties- who would celebrate first?  Would we have to have two weekends of parties?"

Or maybe we just hit it off.  Maybe we were inseparable, destined from the beginning to be lifelong friends.  Either way, I can't remember very many of my childhood birthdays without M there.  As we grew older and attended different high schools, and then went to college two hours apart, we still managed to keep in touch twice a year- once on our birthdays where I would call her and then she would call me the next day to say Happy Birthday, and once in the summer.  One of us would randomly call the other and invite her to do something.  We would hang out for a day and then talk again in January.  Those years, we did not celebrate our birthdays together.  But we were still friends.

On the eve of my 38th birthday, which seems very old and very young at the same time, I am thankful that M is still in my life.  Tomorrow I will wake up early and call her when it is still her birthday in Georgia, but it is already my birthday in Bahrain, because it's funny.  I will tell her I love her and how grateful I am for her and we will get ready to experience our 38th year on this planet together- not physically close, but in each other's hearts.

Tonight, I will also reflect on how blessed I am to be living the life I am living.  I have an amazing husband, beautiful children, wonderful friends and family around the world.  I miss being near them but I know they love me.

I will also miss my mom tonight, as I do most nights.  But I will miss her especially as I remember our last conversation, which took place on my 32nd birthday.  She had a collar made for Bay with my email address on it and was so excited to show it to me over Skype.  I wasn't as appreciative as I could've been but I did like it.  Bay still wears it.

There's no telling what this year will bring.  Our new adventure in Serbia glistens on the horizon, but there are a lot of moments to be lived between now and then.  I ask for guidance to live my best life.  I pray for me and M that 38 will be the best of the years we've had, and the worst of those yet to come.

Happy Birthday, M!