Hi, today is my birthday. Not a major milestone, just 36. Firmly placing me in my mid to late 30's. And for some reason making me feel kind of old. I suppose now I am that much closer to 40 than 30. Which makes me think of that scene in When Harry Met Sally where Sally is crying and feeling sorry for herself, listing her flaws and ending with, "And I'm gonna be 40." "When?" says Harry. "Someday," she says. "In 8 years." he says.
Did you do the math there? She's only 32. Jesus, how is this possible?
When I first watched this movie Sally seemed ancient, like my parents' age. And now somehow she's younger than I am today? Ugh. That's ok, it really is, I'm not fixated on this or starting to tell people I'm 35 for the second year running or anything ridiculous. It just takes a bit of an adjustment in my head. My birthdays always make me annoyingly introspective. What did I accomplish this year? How did I change? What did I learn? What's on my plate for 36? Irritating when it should be all about joy and celebrating the fact that I'm still breathing for another year, and of course cake. To combat this less than celebratory feeling, and because most of our friends have young kids, I thought it would be a blast to spend my birthday weekend celebrating just like a kid.
Now I skipped the pigtails and skinned knees and went straight for a picnic at the park with hot dogs and candy and fruit punch and running around on the jungle gym with some four and five and two year olds! Sounds perfect.
I spent the morning making cupcakes, because what better excuse to try a new recipe than a birthday. What universally appealing flavor combination should I go with, especially for small people? PB&J! So I tried out a new peanut butter and jelly cupcake recipe. A mild vanilla cake that wasn't too sweet, then filled with grape jelly and topped with a decadent peanut butter butter cream frosting.
They tasted like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in cake form. Tasty! And easy to make. Next time I might forgo the cake recipe and just go with a boxed white cake mix instead. The cake was good but a bit less fluffy than I prefer. Joe said I needed more frosting too, he might have been right but don't tell him I said that.
So cupcakes made, hot dog bar ingredients pulled together, soda on ice and we are ready to go. And then life happened. Nothing dire or particularly dramatic. Things just don't always end up exactly perfectly planned now do they? While we planned for an outdoor dinner with distracting, fun, wild little people climbing and running, the end product was a little different.
Things came up, dads had to work at the last minute, kids got fevers and our picnic party of chili cheese dogs and sitting on blankets and blowing bubbles and eating cupcakes and swinging at the park morphed into adults hanging out on our deck drinking wine and hard cider and talking, with just Miss Maddie representing the kids. No problem. We are flexible around here and as long as I got to spend some time with these ladies and gentlemen, we could have been waiting for root canals and it still would be entertaining. (That might be an exaggeration. Sorry, Jim, no one could make that entertaining.)
We had a great time. It was mellow and relaxing and since no park, we got to booze it up a bit. I got to spend the evening with some of my favorite people. And I got a tiara.
And bubbles. And jewelry. And I got to eat a chili cheese dog covered in onions that was so messy that it got all over my chin just like I was 6 instead of 36.
While I may have had to send home several plates full of cupcakes and treat bags full of Sweet Tarts and Laffy Taffy to our absent party guests instead of watching all their little faces get covered in peanut butter frosting in person, I still got a chance to celebrate getting older and at the same time trying to figure out how to feel as young as possible. I think the tiara helped.