In exactly one month I enter a new decade. I’m hitting the next milestone, the one I remember my parents celebrating with black balloons and gag gifts from friends. It is easier for me to grasp that we would be celebrating their 40th birthdays again rather than celebrating my own.
It simply cannot be. I remember 40 as being ancient and irrelevant and so sad. I remember thinking people surely didn’t have fun at 40.
But my melancholy, and truthfully genuine appreciation, about hitting this mile marker will be saved for another post. Today I’m simply thinking about what I want for my birthday.
I was raised by parents of the ‘be grateful’ generation as were many of you. I always got something fun for birthdays or Christmas but practical gifts were also part of the norm. As an adult, I’m blessed with all of my needs and most of my wants. As a result, it’s often hard for me to figure out what I want for special occasions. Ask me what I’d do with $5 million and I can rattle off a laundry list of ideas. But birthdays normally leave me responding, ‘Uhhhhh…..a gift card?”
I can tell my loved ones are feeling the crunch of this birthday because I’ve been asked no less than ten times what I want to do for my birthday. Their concern over making what is truly just another birthday special for me warms my heart. But it also creates some tension for this horribly indecisive and undoubtedly practical gift giver/receiver. As we near the day, the questions from the husband, sister and mom increase.
I outlawed a surprise party. I vetoed an ‘intimate gathering of a few friends’ hosted by my mom. I just haven’t had a solid answer on what would truly light my fire for this birthday.
I took some time today to ponder what would make for the most illustrious, fabulous, breath taking birthday to rival all birthdays in all the world ever. In short, here goes.
I want a cheeseburger. Not just any burger but a Stilton Cheeseburger from Bru Burger. I want the buttery, blue cheese goodness to drip down my arms. I want the fried onions so crispy and potent that my husband won’t even want to lean in for a birthday kiss. I want to dive headfirst into their onion rings (I really like onions) and their homemade ketchup. I want to stuff myself to the gills, nearly to the point of sickness. Then I want to wait 30 minutes while the food settles and makes a tiny dessert space. Then I want a chocolate milkshake and a slice of ice cream cake. The real stuff. Not ice cream stacked on ice cream but rather a bottom layer of cake topped with ice cream. No imposters.
I want a massage. A legit, nearly asleep, stress removing, “Kids? What kids? I don’t have kids. I don’t have any worries in the world” massage. If you’re local and haven’t met Chelsea at Soul Purpose, it’s time. If you believe in God, it will remind you that heaven is going to be amazing. If you don’t believe in God, it may change your mind. So, I want a massage. From Chelsea.
I want a card from the husband. More importantly, I want writing in the card. Lots of it. Gushy, spilling of the soul, “You complete me” type nonsense. I want it to be good. I want to cry a little. I want others to throw up if they ever read the content. I want to feel like I don’t deserve the sweet words in the first 16 paragraphs because they’re so crazy over the top. Then I want to read the next four pages and cry a little more.
I want a home organizer consultant guru person. Or a can of gas and a match. Or a divine calling from God that we need to sell our possessions and move to Africa. I have mismatched rooms and a hodge podge of furniture. I have clothing for four kids spilling out my ears. I have enough paperwork to recycle it back into a Redwood. I have old cookbooks and jewelry and dishes and so. much. stuff. I cannot possibly sift through and organize it to the point of donation or sale. It might be best just to tip my house on it’s side and let everything head into a super sized dumpster and start again.
I want a mother/child photo shoot. I want to have all four kids willingly agree to be photographed for as long as it takes to get at least 800 pictures of each of us. I want those ‘her kids love her so much’ photos where the photographer captures the moment just after I threaten to take away Christmas if they don’t cooperate for the camera. The one where they’re so shocked that their confusion looks like admiration for their mother. I want those photos. And I want to look like a model. Well, as much like a model as a 40 year old, twelve inches under the average height for most models, glasses wearing mother of four can look.
So I guess I also want a personal stylist, hair stylist and makeup artist.
I want my old feet back. You know, the ones that 25 year old women have. The feet that jammed into high heels and crazy uncomfortable shoes. The feet that took abuse and resulted in the old, achy, loafer wearing 40 year old feet. I want those feet.
I want to tell some people off. Like walk up and tell them they’re catty and awful and rumor igniting and shallow and vapid. That they’ve hurt my feelings or my friends feelings or my friends’ friends feelings. But I know that is not a nice thing to do and will inevitably make me feel terrible and I do NOT want to feel terrible on my birthday. It will make digesting the burger and onion rings and milk shake and ice cream cake so difficult. Instead I will be thanful so many people have chosen not to tell me off on their birthday.
And I’ll just save that activity for my 80th birthday.
I want to spend an evening with my parents. And my sibling sets, if possible. I want to talk like adults. But like adults who happen to know all the backstory from when I was a kid. I want to laugh and tell stories and reminisce and just be together. Just the big kids. No refereeing of our own kids. No cutting up food. No answering questions from anyone under 5″. Just spilling stories that wouldn’t come out with little ones present. I want an ‘original family unit’ night.
I want my dear ones around. All of them. This is where it gets tricky because that is unfortunately impossible. Some have moved a few hours away. Some have moved states away. Some are now in a place where I can’t call or bike or drive or fly. Even in a spaceship. So if I can’t have ALL my dear ones around, I want as many as possible. To laugh with and toast the far away friends and be reminded that God may not have blessed me with long legs or good eyes but he poured out His blessings on me in the dear ones department. So, on my big day and the days that follow, hanging with my dears would truly be the best gift.
I want a date night with my man. The kind where such an amazing time is had that we don’t dare think about checking in on the kids. The kind where there exists no worry about the clock. The kind where eating and drinking and merriment is followed only with more eating and drinking and merriment. The kind where we talk and laugh and remember that ‘we’ existed before kids. And even though he is slightly repelled by my Stilton cheeseburger breath, we kiss. Not a kiss that would make our kids embarrassed but a knowing kiss that we’re in this together and even though tomorrow will bring so much noise and chaos and dirt, we’ve got tonight.
Apparently I also want Bob Seger music.
I want to watch the sun set. I want to pay attention as it drops in the sky. I won’t be saddened should there be clouds. Rather I will marvel at the colors that light them up like a fire rages through them. I will thank God for the chance to celebrate another year. For the friends who love me on my worst days which makes having them near on the good days all the better. For my loud, wonderful, argumentative, hilarious, creative kids. For the guy I thought was a weirdo in high school who became the most unbelievable life mate. For my incredibly lively and wacky ‘original’ family. Then I will wink and blow a birthday kiss to my distant dear ones through the fiery clouds.
THAT is what I want for my birthday.