‘Thinking flaming birthday thoughts today.’
I would light the candles on my cake this year, but I’m afraid I’d trigger the sprinkler system. I have reached a remarkable age. An age that is somewhere between ‘Can I please have a tea set for my dolls?’ and ‘Can I please leave a tea set for my Child?’
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t appreciate having a birthday. After all, as our good friend Andy (who is a heck of a lot older than me) says: ‘Any day above ground is a good day’.
Andy, in fact, doesn’t just say this. He has it printed on birthday pens and birthday tee shirts and even birthday chocolate bar wrappers. Andy is into birthdays, big time. He’s also a Trump Supporter. So there’s that.
Andy’s attitude toward the inevitable accumulation of more and more birthdays is, alas, the opposite of my own late lamented father’s. He, when wished ‘happy birthday’ (or even when not wished ‘happy birthday’, like just on any ordinary, random day) would often remark: ‘Don’t get old’. Which, um, sort of triggers a response of ‘Hmmm. Okay. But I’m kind of not into the alternative.’
As for me, I rather enjoy birthdays and all the attention that comes with. I’ve gotten rather good at accepting compliments, and even gifts. But then, I’ve had plenty of practice. It’s just a bit disorienting when those birthdays seem to come around every week instead of every year.
And I do appreciate a birthday cake, or at least the candle part. There were indeed years when I lit them. And could blow them all out. With ease. I seem to recall a cake that had a Barbie Doll baked into the base, which looked like a big curtsey-worthy cotillion skirt. But I could be wrong about that, because our mother made our cakes. And I honestly don’t think she would have baked a Barbie.
Speaking of Barbies, the prettiest and most popular girl in my high school class was named Barbie. And she married a guy whose last name was Doll. No, I did not make this up.
But, again. Back to my birthdays.
I was so into birthday cakes when I was young(er) that once I demanded one even when it was most decidedly not my birthday.
My brother, pictured above with his own cake (and mine) was no wuss. He eventually decided that he didn’t really want a birthday cake — even a ‘black cake with blue frosting’, which was his fave for a time — he wanted a birthday pie. Which my mother continues to produce for him to this very day. (Like I said, she’s a Saint Who Walks the Earth.)
Even when I celebrate my birthday ‘away’, like with my Mom or my Sister, or even The Child, like we did this weekend, all turns out well, sometimes with flames.
This particular pre-birthday weekend, we (The Dude and I, since he is co-parent) Amtraked up to Cambridge to visit Said Child on her own turf. We did this not because it was my birthday, but because we were way overdue for a visit. We had not visited her since she moved there. Which was more than two years ago. Helicopter Parents, we are most decidedly not. Incidentally, The Child treated at dinner. And had the waiter bring a lighted dessert to the table. Now I really know I’m getting old.
So. Today — this very day, Tuesday, November first — is my birthday. I’m celebrating with plenty of champagne. And not only because I love champagne. Yesterday was Halloween, and no one ‘got’ my costume. Which was ‘Somewhat Older Upper East Side Lady Out For A Walk’.
Got to get Birthday Busy now. Places to go, people to see. Champagne to drink! See you next week, when I’ll be one week older (gasp) than I am today.
New York City. November 2016