Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Little Cake, a Little Candle, a Lotta Love

Today is my birthday! June 17, 1964. Where were you on that momentous occasion? Yes, I know, not even a twinkle in anyone's eye. Your own mom was, what? Fourteen? Whatever.

I’m 45 years…um…experienced. And I am going to par-TAY!

First, I’ll teach piano lessons all morning. Then, the bug guy is scheduled to come between 12:30 and 1:00. Then I’m going to do seventeen loads of laundry and see if I remember what my bed looks like when it’s made.

But first, I thought I’d celebrate with you by sharing forty-five things I’ve learned over the last four-and-a-half decades. You should probably take notes; I’ve been around. A lot.

1: If you’re under two, your parents will not take you seriously when you suggest they throw your new baby brother out the car window on the way home from the hospital.

2: “Grizelda Scat Scat” is an awesome name for a cat, no matter what your cousin says.

3: When you’re five, it only takes a couple of feet of snow to cover your head.

4: Snow gets a lot deeper than that in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

5: So a family walk to Safeway during a Cheyenne winter is not recommended. Unless you want to spend most of it counting stocking caps and hollering “DeNae! DeNae!”

6: If you’re the oldest, and your mom decides to take the three kids on the train from Cheyenne to Grand Junction, Colorado, you are automatically in charge of carrying the coats. It doesn’t matter if you’re only three feet tall, and the pile of coats is, by itself, four feet high.

7: Item number six is just fine with that oldest child. It’s still better than carrying the diaper bag.

8: Do NOT wear your new gray furry coat to school if doing so means walking past the yard with the german shepherd and the broken fence. The dog will chase you all the way to the door because it thinks you’re a bear. At least that’s what you’ll tell your first grade teacher, who will hold you on her lap and hug you tight until you stop crying.

9: Any day care worker named “Bertha” should be locked up.

10: Especially if her own child is a jerk who hogs the Big Wheels just because she can.

11: The versatility of Deviled Ham can not be overstated.

12: Bit o’ Honey is the best non-chocolate candy on the face of the earth.

13: July 5th is an unusually popular birthday.

14: Believing in Santa Claus is a lot more fun than knowing the truth.

15: And the truth about Santa Claus should not be told to a class of 8 year-olds by a Primary teacher.

16: And if that Primary teacher DOES out Santa, it would be very easy for parents to get Santa back IN. Just tell your child the Primary teacher is a devil who no longer gets Christmas presents because she eats elves. Your desperate child will totally believe you.

17: The worst of all possible Christmas presents is food storage.

18: The best of all possible Christmas presents is a Crissy doll.

19: Or ice skates.

20: Or a gray furry coat.

21: Until you’re mistaken for a bear.

22: The most extreme form of musical entertainment ever recorded was singing on the giant Christmas tree at the Cottonwood Mall. That baby never had a rail or anything. ‘Pa-rum-pa-pum-paaaAAAAAAIIIEEEEE!’ was the most commonly performed carol on the Cottonwood Mall giant Christmas tree.

23: The Easter Bunny is the creepiest mythological creature devised by the twisted mind of man. Trust me: Your kids hate the Easter Bunny.

24: But any creature, creepy or not, who will leave Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and truckloads of Whoppers all over the place is welcome in my house any time.

25: There is no such thing as a kid-friendly version of “The Odyssey”. Any fifth grade teacher who thinks it’s a story that translates into an accessible school play needs to have her pretentious head examined.

26: It really sucks to be one of the ‘restless souls from the underworld’ in your fifth grade performance of “The Odyssey”.

27: And while sewing that asinine costume your mom will do more swearing than a blind centipede in a room full of jacks.

28: The most disturbing movie you will ever watch is the film strip they show at your 6th grade maturation program. Seriously, “Silence of the Lambs” will be a cake walk by comparison.

29: Just because “maturation” has the word “mat” in it, there is no tumbling involved. At least not right away.

30: The worst year of your life is 7th grade. Period. Survive 7th grade, and the rest of your life will just breeze by. At least until your first kid goes to 7th grade.

31: Be sure to show up for your Wildlife Biology final. Otherwise, Mr. Bayless the Wildlife Biology teacher will haunt your dreams 'til the day you die.

32: High School is ten thousand times better than Junior High.

33: And College is ten thousand times better than High School.

34: And being done with all of it is ten thousand times better than, well, not.

35: If you suspect your boyfriend is cheating on you, he is.

36: If you suspect your boyfriend is gay, he is.

37: If you suspect your boyfriend is cheating on you with your ex-boyfriend, it’s time to re-think your criteria for selecting boyfriends.

38: The best way to earn a living is to find a way to get paid to do what you would do for free. This is why prostitution is such steady work.

39: It turns out you CAN sing your way through life. It is also true that knowing how to type is every bit as important as your mother said it was.

40: Every woman needs a goofy friend, a smart friend, a friend with faith, and a friend she’s related to in some way. I have multiple of all of these. Some belong in more than one category. How incredible is that??

41: No one has better kids than I have. No one. If they were really as hard to live with as I joke about on my blog, it wouldn’t be funny. They’re all smart and faithful and talented and loving. And I’m the luckiest mom in the world.

42: The smartest thing I ever did was marry the cute guy up the street…

43: And started a family with him…

44: And stood by him while he changed careers and moved us all over the hemisphere…

45: Because nothing could compare to the last 24 years with him, tag-teaming life’s challenges and navigating those wild parental waters. He’s steady and funny, and bar none my biggest fan.

And although I’ve reached number 45, there is still so much to say. About my parents. And my sibs. And the in-laws, and the nieces and nephews. And the lunacy and love and fierce loyalty I’ve been blessed with from both kinfolk and friends.

Is there a greater gift than to be surrounded by amazing people who add texture and color and pure joy to your life?

Perhaps the only thing better is knowing that, barring any unforeseen cement mixer incidents, I’ve got at least another 45 more opportunities to count my blessings and party with the bug guy.

Happy Birthday to Me!

40 comments:

NatureGirl said...

That is my favorite so far...and that is saying alot. Yes my mom was 13 in 1964 but I am only 5 years behind you...do that math!

InkMom said...

Twelve, DeNae. She was twelve. And she also loves Bit 'o Honey.

The first post I ever read of yours was the one about Facebook. Which I still go find every once in a while when I need a really good laugh.

After I read it the first time, I read it to my husband. He also laughed out loud.

I also just read him this one. And he laughed again. Especially about the singing Christmas tree. And the prostitutes. And the maturation film.

You are priceless!

That Girl said...

I like #41. It makes me smile.

(My big day is the 24th. Go Cancers!)

MommyJ said...

Um... what inkmom said.

And, a funny story.

When I was a newborn, a very tiny, five pound, born early newborn, my older brother, age 2, decided he didn't need me around anymore. So he moved the kitchen chair to my bassinet, climbed up, picked me up, and headed for the front door. He was seriously taking matters into his own hands. Mom caught him just before he tossed me out. Well, thank heavens for that! It wasn't out the car window, but I'm not sure out onto the front lawn is much better of an option.

Happy Happy birthday my dear funny friend. If Inkmom and I have a party, will you come?

aunt dyanne said...

Oh happy Day - there is no one on the planet that deserves to have a great day than you....till Dec. when it's my turn anyway.

I so so so NEVER want to sing on the Cottonwood Mall Tree EVER again.... oh wait - they tore the mall down... maybe the tree is among the rubble...

Happy DeNae Day!

(& PS. Merry Christmas Darling, sung by my bestest dear HS friend...is STILL the album I play every year....)

DeNae said...

Dyanne, your loyalty is both breathtaking and of some concern. Doesn't it bother you that I pass through at least six key changes on that song? But any friend who would listen to it anyway is a friend for life. I love you!

veronica said...

Happy Birthday!

Lacy said...

I love ya Denae! Happy Birthday :) Oh, and this was my favorite since you did the Israelite women blog. Thank you for the smiles

DeNae said...

Yes, Mommy J, I will TOTALLY come to any party which includes you and your sister! Name the date, baby!

Debbie said...

Happy Birthday! Love bit o honey. My dad used to give it to us when our teeth were loose. Yummy stuff.

Lara said...

Happy Birthday DeNae! Even though you share your birthdate with one of my ex-boyfriends whom I suspected of cheating on me and he was, I still love you! :)

And yes. My mom was 12, too. Weird. But she's only 29 now, so it's all good. Really.

I can't even begin to comment on all the great things about this list, so I won't, except to say a great big amen to the fact that singing through life is the only way to go.

AS Amber said...

My mom was the same age your mom was when she had you. The. Exact. Same. Age.

This one might could go between #1 and #2: If you're 4 and your brother is 2 (you remember him? The one you wanted to chuck out the window?), you could probably bite your brand new baby sister and tell your mom that your brother did it. And you'd probably get away with it for a while.

Why isn't that one in there?

I hope that primary teacher got excommunicated.

You should post baby pictures! You were the CUTEST baby!!!!!

Happy Birthday, Sister! Love you! This was very funny and useful!

(No, I'm not the one who got bitten.)

AS Amber said...

Oh! And what were you doing ON the tree at the mall? I don't get it.

And about #25: can I use "Oh Brother Where Are Thou?" for Hayden?

charrette said...

Happy Birthday! This is funny and warm and wonderful all rolled into one. But what will REALLY make your day...is that I am older than you.

xo

Kristina P. said...

Happy birthday, DeNae! I heard a rumor that you might be here in July, and you clearly want to meet me.

Melanie J said...

Wow. So the boyfriend thing, in hindsight, makes certain things SO much clearer.

Hel said...

Hehe... My mother-in-law gave me food storage for Christmas last year.

And yes, my mother WAS fourteen. How did you know? (Actually I think we've discussed age before, haven't we?)

Happy Birthday DeNae. Maybe there will be a cake with candles waiting for you at the top of your laundry mountain. I'll eat some cake in your honour tomorrow.

SO said...

I'm going to have to return that gray furry coat I got you.

Have a very happy, happy Birthday!

Jerry said...

As I read through the items you posted it caused my mind to fill with memories. I can rememb er all of them, except the dog! Which had I known we could have eaten.

You've been a blessing to us. We were so happy you waited until you were married to go to the ortho.

Mom and I were looking at your wedding pictures, we were all so skinny........

Happy birthday. I hope I'm around to see your 64th.

Love Dad,

(HI BBB)

Brittany Ann said...

Happy birthday! What an awesome posts.

Jen said...

Happy Birthday!! Shane and I are a bit behind…we just saw your anniversary present from your beautiful girls. Ya, we both were crying by the end of the song. They are amazing. I have a great idea, why don’t you ask for another song for your birthday so we can all have the gift of hearing them again??? Hope you have a GREAT day!

Brooke said...

Happy Happy Birthday DeNae dear;
Happy days will come to you all year . . .

Have fun with the Orkin man. But seriously - laundry on your birthday?? There oughta be a law against that.

And don't forget to update your "About Me" column, now that you're no longer a spry 44.

Sarah said...

Happy Birthday! Amen to #11,12,14,23,24,30,32, & 33.

Sher said...

I could have sworn I already commented like yesterday. Are you using the force to pass some of your old age and sinility over to me? Oh wait, did I say that outloud?

You know I love you!!!

How on earth do you remember all of that stuff from your childhood? You must be smart. I can barely remember before I got married.

Happy Birthday!

Lisa Loo said...

Reading your comments is almost as mucu fun as reading the post!! Happy Birthday! My gift to you is that I am 4 months older than you--my generosity knows no bounds, I know.
Thank you for #28--I thought I was the only one who felt that way!
Will you still like me if I don't get #13?? Seriously.

DeNae said...

Well, Lisa Loo and all equally confused readers, the truth is I have two sisters with that birthday. And I know one family with only 3 kids who have one kid with that birthday. And I know another family with only 3 kids who have TWO kids with that same birthday.

No twins. It's just kinda weird.

Jessica said...

Happy Birthday! It is very unusual for me to know a woman who states her real age openly.
My mom, grandmother and I are all almost the same age now. Only Jaylynn usually tries to spoil it, being younger she enjoys setting the record straight.

No bugs, that is a gift to yourself.

Hope your day is great and chocolate covered! I'd so bake for you if I were near.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Happy Birthday dear DeNae. Sorry I missed it yesterday. (I just realized I'm rhyming, I think I'll keep it up). My mom was nineteen, buttercup.
Bit o Honey's were my favorite too,
Even though you lose teeth when you chew.
I know you think you're old, but wait.
The difference between us in years is just 8.
Me, you, and That Girl-- Cancer rules!
Thanks for being one of my favorite girls.


(You can just direct Hallmark to my email when they call you about who came up with this great greeting card stuff.)

Mommy said...

Thank you for the laughs! You are a very talented writer!

SCP said...

Well at least you were the one doing the suggesting of throwing your brother out the window and not the one about to be tossed!! Also it's no big deal to carry the coats on the train as long as you have a great big bag of pixxie stix to dump down the drinking fountain in first class. What could be better than being able to run all over the train while your mom takes care of the baby. And next it is true that singing can get you through life. It is also something that I admired in you from an early age and probably why I enjoyed singing so much and for that I will be eternaly grateful. Thank you for making it look like so much fun for I may never have discovered the singer in me! And thank you for passing the talent on to your wonderful daughters who even as we speak have me choked up just thinking about how good they are. And last but not least, was I skinny 24 years ago?

Melissa said...

One of my favorite posts! I'm still laughing at the blind centipede. I tried to read it out loud to Splenda and laughed so hard that not only could he not understand me, but then I snorted.

Happy Birthday funny girl!

The Garden of Egan said...

Honey! I'm older than you! I was in first grade when you were born. I was wearing a training bra when you were...........OK maybe I still am wearing a training bra. Scratch that.

So you think you are all old and stuff like that, you got nothin' on me!

Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm glad you have had a good 45 years and lived to tell us your exciting words of wisdom.

You are awesome and I love your writing. I've had a very long day, week, month........and it was nice to sit down tonight and vegetate in front of your blog.

okierivermama said...

Love # 15....The Jolly Fat Man was outed at our church by a guest speaker on a sunday night when no nursery was offered...there were a lot of angry mamas that night!!
steff

Shawn said...

HAPPY PARTYING!!

Hope you had a good one....

Karen said...

This is one of the best birthday posts I've read in awhile!

(And my mom was 9...)

jan said...

My mom was 24 and had been married for 12 days.

My dad had told my 3 older brothers that if the baby #4 was a girl that they were going to send her back. When the baby was a girl (me), my older brother sadly approached my mom and asked if they really had to send her back because he liked her. Sweet, huh? Except that they got over those sweet feelings and spent the rest of my life teasing, harrassing and otherwise mentally torturing me. Ah, siblings!

Dustin and Melanie said...

She was 16, my mom and already met my dad and was probably planning their wedding(it was just two years away)! I was born June 15th, 15 years later, so happy birthday to US a week ago. . . Thanks for essaying, it's hilarious and so familiar. . .

myimaginaryblog said...

I'm confused -- blind centipedes can talk?

This is a great list.

Also, June is the best month for birthdays.

Anonymous said...

Missed your birthday. Hope it was great! The exterminator could have put a slight damper on it though. Love, Aunt H.

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