Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thirty schmirty

Birthday Menu
Wedge salad with apples, blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette -Dave
Pistachio chicken with a mustard cream sauce -Aaron
Grilled green and white asparagus with duck egg -Albert
Wild rice with sauteed mushrooms -Aaron
Caramelized apple bread pudding with boozy raisins -Aaron

 Today, I turned 28.  When I was little, 28 seemed quite aged to me; approaching antiquity, even.  I imagined that by the time I had achieved such lifespan as this that I would have rescued half of Africa from starvation, written three great American novels, cured cancer, and met at least half of the important people in the world because they wanted to tell me how much they admired my paintings.
 I haven't done any of those things. 

What I have done is cultivated a number of relationships with people of such fine quality that they enhance my life in inumerable ways, people I have loved, laughed and lived with.  People who love me enough to make me dinner, and raise a glass to me on my birthday.


 (we are blurry, but we are having a fabulous time.)
I have also learned some really valuable lessons on what it feels like to be myself.  I used to imagine that I would have to do a lot of things in my life to be happy, and sometimes that's been true; I love to plant things in the dirt, to make my boys laugh, to put flowers on the table and make my home a beautiful living space.  Other times, the most vital thing had nothing to do with doing: breathing through the contractions that brought my babies into this world, weeping at my brother's grave, lying next to my husband at night. 

At my party, almost no one knew how old I was.  It's never really mattered to me; I haven't ever really felt any particular age.  When I was younger I didn't like for people to know my age because in one way or another, it didn't seem to match their expectation: my vocabulary made me sound older; I looked way too young to have kids; always there was some disparity.  I felt it in myself, too; I was never quite at home with any particular number. 

Now I feel quite at home, but it has nothing to do with numbers.  Age is just one way to frame a person, but it really doesn't tell you anything about them.  I have met some infants who seem like old souls, and I've met senior citizens who are young at heart, and all sorts of people in between and most of the time, when I look at the people I know, I don't think of a number.  What I think of is what that person means to me, and what I mean to them.   

That being said, I will probably still freak out a little bit when I turn 30.  Still, it's hard to mind getting older(and yes, I know I'm not really "older") when I can look around the table and see a crowd of people I want to spend the rest of my life with. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

All About Jack

 The other day, I remembered that I have a blog.  I realized it had been so long since I'd posted, one of my children was a whole year older.  In honor of my first-born, I decided to dedicate my comeback post entirely to him. 

For his sixth(!!!) birthday, Jack requested "a cake with two layers, blue and white frosting, white flowers, and a bird on a pipe cleaner on the top that looks like it's flying."  The boy knows what he wants.  It came out looking a little more Marie Antoinette than I'd intended, but as far as Jack was concerned I delivered.  His party was the best kid birthday party I've ever thrown; low-key and fun for all.  We started the party off by serving the kids a lunch of tacos and fresh strawberries, with a special birthday treat of boxed chocolate milk.  Next we did cake and presents.
 "I've always wanted this one!"

 Then, my stroke of brilliance: I tossed 25 containers of Play-doh on the table with several cookie cutters, and the kids proceeded to play(quietly, I might add) for about 90 minutes.  Clean-up wasn't even that bad.  And yes, there was a giant mound of gray Play-doh in the middle of the table when they were done, but that was fine by me because they made it by mixing most of the lame colors together anyway.
 This was some time after his birthday.  Jack asked me to take his picture because he was "being a walrus."  I think my favorite thing about my kids is their sense of humor.
And now, Jack is all grown up.  He was due for new glasses quite a while ago, but it's so difficult convincing him to go to any kind of official appointment that I put it off for a long time.  Finally, the guilt of knowing that he wasn't seeing the world as clearly as he could got to me and I dragged him to Wal-mart to get some cheap glasses.  We usually go with Costco, but the last pair we got there for him kept breaking.  I hate Wal-mart and I hate that I gave them my money, but Jack's glasses were a) half the price of Costco b) under warranty for a whole year, no matter what happens to them and c) plastic frames.  Costco only carries metal frames for kids, which is dumb because they bend out of shape so easily.  I can tell that the lens material Wal-mart uses isn't as thin as the Costco stuff, but that really only effects how Jack looks to other people, not how he sees.  And for a six year-old boy who is constantly running, jumping, climbing, wrestling, and otherwise imperilling his glasses six ways till Sunday, cheap glasses are a good thing.