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!