My birthday has now come and gone. And I didn’t spend nearly enough time writing about it because I was too busy sitting in my own pit of self-misery about (gulp) adding another year to my number plate. Yea, I know, 33 ain’t all that bad. It’s not thaaaat old. But something about my yearly celebration of being pushed out of my mom’s vagina in our cozy Vancouver, BC town-home in 1982 triggers some serious self-reflection, and with serious self-reflection comes well, serious moods.
My son (age 9) offered to make me a special bday breakfast to wake up to on Saturday. As is the case with most 9 year olds, he forgot. My “special” day started out with the squabbling of my 9 year old and 7 year old, and my not-so-gentle reminder that “All I want for my birthday is for you two to STOP FIGHTING!“, followed by their responses, “Oh yea, happy birthday Mom!” and hugs, for which I was already too grumpy to enjoy or appreciate fully.
I know part of my problem is that I’m “too nice”. Maybe I need to start ordering people around and telling them to make me coffee, clean the kitchen, hand me a book to read (that’s NOT a kids books!) and then LEAVE ME ALONE to sulk. Except that what I really wanted was attention. I wanted them to make a big deal about me, but I didn’t want to ask them to because I didn’t want them to make a big deal just because I asked them to. I wanted them to want to. Ugh, and this my friends is where the perpetual disappoint festers.
You don’t tell people what you want -> They don’t know what you want -> You don’t get what you want -> They don’t know why you are disappointed -> You blame yourself for your unrealistic expectations -> They move along with their lives and will likely not ever be able to “read your mind” and know what you want…
I ask for a mint-chocolate chip ice cream cake with chocolate cake. What do I get? (Oh Gawd, I know I sound like a brat typing this!) A HUGE sheet cake of “dulce de leche” cake…hmmm….sounds good (even if it’s NOT what I asked for NOR did it have ANY ice cream)…right? Oh sure, if you are NOT me, you might actually LIKE white cake SOAKED in MILK?!?! With a custard filling?!?! And strawberries on top (sounds good) with that weird jelly stuff coated on them (not so good)?!?! Let’s be real here: I have a weird aversion to certain textures. This has included jelly and ketchup since childhood. Now it will also include soggy milk-soaked cakes, custard filling, and strawberry goo (sigh). I’m a jerk. But I smiled and ate the cake like a good girl (as many bites as I could stomach) because I know the notion came from a good place, and they were all very proud of their AMAZING cake they chose for me. So yes, like I said (typed) I’m a jerk for not liking the cake and being disappointed that I didn’t get what I wanted on my ONE special day of the WHOLE YEAR…but I also didn’t tell them “No, this is not what I asked for, and the thought of eating it grosses me out beyond your capability to comprehend.”
And my funkiness prevented me from blogging and promoting the crap out of my crowdfunding for writing efforts (only 9 days left!!! AND the only thing I really really DO WANT for my bday) and even though I made it to the LA Times Festival of Books, I really only got there for the final hour of the thing when everyone was packing up and yes, the books were all getting marked down to 50% off (I love a good deal!) but no books were calling to me (it was all the leftovers anyways) and literally the only picture I took while I was there was of a breastfeeding booth (yes, this is my life with kids and being a breastfeeding advocate even after I no longer am breastfeeding any kids of my own!). But…I am grateful I got to be there at all! Even if only for an hour…even if it took longer to drive there than the actual amount of time I got to spend there.
Pink’s hot dogs served me a burger (because, well, hot dogs are gross and so I ordered a burger even though I felt that was kind of lame to go to a famous hot dog stand and order a turkey burger). The crazy line at Pink’s made us 30 minutes late for the book reading we were heading to so I had to walk in to the tiny bookstore with the nearly-impossible-to-open doors, and feel the awkward rudeness of showing up mid-reading. I couldn’t think of any brilliant questions to ask the author when it came time for discussion (I usually love asking questions). And though I was first to hug the author (is that OKAY? Maybe I need to work on my book-signing etiquette, but hey, I’m a hugger!) and get my book signed (which I bought earlier in the week and then regretted it because if I had bought it at the bookstore I could have gotten a free finger puppet! Damnit, I love free stuff) and I was impressed that the ever-fabulous author (and a former writing professor of mine from UCR) remembered how to spell my weird frenchie name (A-I-M-E-E, no accent on the first E because I’m not french and have never put the accent there) but then accidentally gave me two A’s in her excitement as she signed and I blabbed on about who only knows what in my nervous jitters. I kind of love that it’s goofy because it reminds me that yes,I am not the only one who struggles to perform under the pressure of watching eyes. I just KNOW that someday (when I’m a big famous author) that I will flub names and then draw a giant pen heart to cover up the flub and then it looks like a giant black heart and keeps growing and keeps getting uglier and everyone will be standing there waiting, kids crying, pulling on their mommy’s skirts to go home already, and I’ll be drawing stupid black hearts to cover up my flubs.
So, happy sappy sorry birthday to ME! Another year older, and that much closer to something…death? Publishing? Cancer? Another broken wrist? Toe?
*Oh yea, forgot to mention I didn’t even get to blow out my own bday candles…there were only 2 and both my daughters took care of those before they were even done singing happy birthday to me. Whatever. Why do I even care??? It’s not like I believe in stupid things like making a wish on your birthday and then blowing out the candles and then not telling anyone what you wished for or it won’t come true…Okay, I still do.