It’s my birthday! Last night as I drifted off to sleep I tried to remember birthdays from my past. From when I was a kid and others. And it was hard.
When I was kid, birthdays were simply not a big deal. Yes. There was cake, my Mother always baked a cake, but there was none of that “Your favorite kind” business. It was a Betty Crocker yellow cake with vanilla frosting. Every cake, every time. No matter whose birthday it was. There were presents. Not a lot. Maybe two. Three. A card with five dollars from my grandparents and that was it. If it was a weekend, a friend *might* get to join us for dinner and cake and a sleep-over. Nothing radical. Basically, Finch birthdays were recognized, but not a big deal.
That is… until you turned thirteen. And you became a teenager. More grown up. Mature. Then the tradition was a nice dinner out. You got to pick the place. I selected Clinkerdagger’s. I dressed up, my parents dressed up and I got some much needed one on one. I say ‘one on one’ was much needed, but that is not quite true. I remember being in the kitchen, just me and my mom. Making salad and setting the table while she cooked. We chatted and occasionally she would offer some talisman, some cooking tip. It was nice (when I wasn’t being a brat and slamming things around). But a birthday dinner was special.
The next big birthday I remember I probably shouldn’t write about, especially if the intent of this entire blog is for my kids and grand-kids, but hey, I was young once too. So….in 1980 the drinking age was nineteen. In 1980 I turned nineteen. I remember going out in a van load of people, Sugar is the only individual I really remember, there was a guy, there is always a guy, right? Maybe I liked him? Not sure, but I borrowed a cute outfit from Sugar and off we went. To the Pines. A country western bar where we drank and danced all night. The next memory from that night was rolling up to my parents house and crawling out of that van when the sun was coming up. Bars closed at 4:00 am then and we had Shut. Them. Down. In my hand was one of the red glass table candles from the bar. I guess when I am inebriated I am a thief.
I have had many many special family birthdays over the years with Scott and the girls. Days starting with breakfast in bed, then on to fancy dinners with my favorite cake, carrot, and ending with a family movie snuggled on the couch. These have been so cozy and lovely.
Quite a few birthdays over the past 15 or so years were spent with friends. Once we went out to dinner with several other couples. We were at Annabelle’s, taking up the whole center section, it was festive and colorful. Loud and happy. There was a moment when I looked around. The lights were dim, candles lit the table. The clatter of dishes in the kitchen mixed with the bursts of laughter from these people I love. I just sat and soaked it in.
There are other birthdays when I could not believe just how much fun I was having. Drinks on the deck of the Arctic on a clear cold night, stars twinkling and the moon lighting the water. Other birthdays with martini tastings in a cozy pub. And then there was my 50th at Cape Fox!! This was the Sally O’Malley birthday, “I can STRETCH….. I can KICK…I’m FIFTY!!!”
Last year my grandson visited me for my birthday. It was a sunny weekend, fall here is usually all yellow umbrellas and cold rain. And because it was sunny, we spent a morning planting bulbs. We took him swimming, ate cake and watched “Coco” several times. It was a very special birthday tradition I hope to maintain!!
While this birthday is not over, it started on Friday with a TGIF with friends, fruit and cream with mimosa’s on Sunday, followed by a long walk on what has to be one of the most quintessentialy pretty days of the fall season, sunlight twinkling on the ocean, a perfect crisp breeze, trees absolutely at their most colorful, I have full and complete gratitude for the gifts I have been given over these many years. The gift of family and friends.