So here’s how the day actually went. Scott left early for work, so I was up with a very grumpy Ben at 6:45. (Ben apparently missed the memo that it was my birthday and remained miserably crabby for the rest of the day. More on that to follow.) As I brushed my teeth (with Ben screaming and clinging to my leg), Will came in the bathroom in his footie pajamas, complete with anime hair and said, “MOM! Do you know what today is? It’s your birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” I was flattered to think my birthday was the first thing on his mind (how thoughtful!), and then he added, “When will the jump castle be here?” and pouted for the rest of the morning because I told him he had to go to school.
Ben and I dropped Will off at school and headed to Publix because I realized I hadn’t picked up any drinks for the party. Grocery shopping was certainly not on the list of things I wanted to do on my birthday, but it’s not really a chore when your cart is full of alcohol and mixers. I did feel a need to explain to everyone why I had a cart full of margarita mix and beer at 8:30 in the morning.
We headed home (instead of heading to B&N for hot chocolate) because Ben was losing his mind and needed to go down for a nap. Plan B? A relaxing bath to shave my legs while Ben slept. Um, yeah. He totally woke up twenty-five minutes into his nap (which ordinarily would be two hours long), so I had to shave the last half of my second leg listening to him scream from his room. So relaxing.
I tried to soothe him back to sleep, but it was totally not going to happen, so I showered (while he ate chocolate in front of the TV...I gave up) and headed to the mall to pick up my cookie cake. By the time we got to the mall, Ben’s mood had improved slightly. The cookie wasn’t quite ready (I was earlier than I thought I would be because I counted on Ben taking a normal nap), so we headed to the food court for some lunch. I wouldn’t eat a Big Mac if you paid me, but mall food court Chinese food is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. So incredibly, grossly wonderful. Plus, rice is one thing I can count on Ben eating. So, we shared a great birthday lunch.
As we walked back through the mall to leave (carrying my giant pan-size cookie cake), every person we passed stared and smiled. One girl even turned to her friend and said, “Oh, look! She’s got a giant cookie.” Everyone loves cookie cake. Fact.
Around this time, my mom sent me a series of texts over the course of two hours:
#1 Happy actual birthday in 4 hours and 8 minutes.
#2 About now I had given up on getting you out.
#3 I’m exhausted. I’ve been at this for hours.
#4 I wonder if I need a C sect.
#5 Almost. That’s a big head. Snip snip again. Blond hair.
#6 Eyes bulging. Blood vessels on face.
#7 Don’t you dare say push harder.
#8 Dad: It’s a boy. Dr: Let’s turn her over, Daddy! WHEW!!! Exclamation worthy.
Let me just say this again. Thank you, Mom. And sorry. I really do understand. And I did it twice.
From the mall, we picked up Will and headed home to wait for the jump castle people to arrive. Within five minutes of being inflated, the doorbell rang. A couple of neighborhood kids (who run the streets at all hours of the night ordinarily) were standing at the door. “Can we jump in your jump castle?” I told them they could come back at 6:00 when the party started if they would bring an adult (I thought I might actually get to meet the parents of these children I’ve been feeding for the past three years).
After a little jumping, I tried to get the house/food ready, despite Ben’s best efforts to sabotage (which included trying to pull the tablecloth off the table, knocking over a vase of daisies, and throwing himself on the floor and screaming for a full fifteen minutes). Oddly enough, Ben’s mood improved again as soon as Scott got home and started cooking. Daddy’s boy.
Guests arrived. People jumped. We all wore granny panties. The neighborhood kids showed back up and ate like they hadn’t been fed in days (which may be true), and the rest of us stuffed our faces with bacon corn quesadillas, fruit salad, crunchy cabbage salad, and grilled potatoes with blue cheese vinaigrette. I mean, it’s not pizza from Chuck E. Cheese, but it’ll do in a pinch.
Around 8:00, I realized that the kids’ mom said she’d be back to take them to a football game at 7:30. We sent the oldest boy home and told him to have his mom or grandma come back for his little brother. He came back five minutes later and said no one was home. (We still haven’t determined if they really did leave without the kids or if this was just a story he was telling because he wanted to stay at the party.) Either way, all of the parents in the room were puzzled about how to handle the situation. I don’t remember having ever considered calling child protective services at any of my other birthday parties. This, I suppose, is one major way turning 30 is way different than turning 16 or 21.
Luckily, someone showed up a few minutes later and took them home, and we were back to celebrating. The people with kids all started leaving, and the people without kids started showing up at the 9:00 hour. My friend Audra came over on her motorcycle, so we decided we needed a granny panty hog shot, during which Ben burned his leg on the engine. As if he hadn’t already had an awful day. At least now he had a reason to scream. Audra’s a nurse, so she got his leg fixed up with bandages, and I was glad no one decided to call child protective services on me. (BTW, he has a scab on his leg but seems unbothered.)
The only other part of the night that seemed awkward was when I realized forty people were singing “Happy Birthday” to me--made me feel slightly self-conscious for a second--like, do all of these people think I’m a nut job throwing a birthday party for myself? But, it passed as I focused on my mantra. Stop complaining, and throw your own damn party. Plus, most of the people have known me long enough that they already thought I was a nut job, and they still came to my party.
The night ended with all remaining children tucked into bed in Will’s room with a movie while we drank by the firepit and talked about how old we all are. We headed to bed at 2:30, and I stayed in bed until 10:30. Did you read that? 10:30. More than anything Scott’s done in the last seven years, this is the thing I love him for the most. Because he was up with both boys at 7:00.
I didn’t feel great the next morning, but I didn’t feel so bad that I couldn’t fry some potatoes to eat with the leftover blue cheese vinaigrette. We spent the rest of the day lounging around the house, not cleaning. Pretty fabulous. (I’m still hoping I’ll wake up tomorrow morning to a surprise visit from the cleaning fairy.)
After the boys went to bed, Scott had to work on some grad school stuff. (Generally speaking, I’m usually mad at him for procrastinating, but this time it was because he has spent so much time lately helping me with the house and boys so that I could ring in my thirtieth year in the best possible way, so I was nothing but grateful.) I decided to take a shower and go spend some of my B&N gift cards. On the way, I realized I was hungry, so I made a stop at the closest restaurant to B&N without a drive-thru and ate a delicious plate of chicken alfredo at Olive Garden. All. By. Myself. A perfect ending to the day after my perfect birthday party.
All in all, birthday party #30 was one of the best I’ve ever had (right behind #2 at McDonald’s and #9 Batman slumber party).
A few things I’ve learned over the last thirty years:
- Granny panties make everyone look fat.
- There is no end to love when you open yourself to it. (I know, how very Zen Oprah of me, but it’s really, really true.)
- I am only friends with pretty people. Don’t know why. It’s just a fact.
- Cookie cake makes everything better. Everything.
- I’ll always love being someone’s kid, and I’ll always love being someone’s mommy.
Thank you to everyone who made my day a great one, and let’s face it, you all make every day great! Lucky, blessed, whatever you want to call it--I freaking love my life.