Today is the first day of my birthday month!
I was taught that by my mother who always declares her birthday month each year. Of course, you can’t blame her since she shared with my Dad for years. He was born 5 days after her and for those 5 days each year he gave her a really hard time for being older. And she shares the month (September) with three of her grandchildren and two of their cousins, her daughter’s mother-in-law, her great-grandson and a few other relatives and friends. Every year there is usually one big party for all. What a jip! No wonder she made her own personal birthday month declaration. ( I always wondered why everyone in our family seemed to be born in September until I was old enough to understand Christmas sex.)
I do not share my month with many, although my sister’s birthday is exactly two weeks before mine. Mom always held one big party for the two of us on the intervening weekend and baked an amazing cake that usually had two parts, one for each of us - but we hated sharing anything - especially birthdays. And you’d think Mom would have understood since she always made a big deal out of her own birthday month so she wouldn’t have to share too much. Suzette and I even had joint slumber parties to celebrate. Yucck!
But not anymore. This is my birthday, my month and my 10 days. I envy anyone born near the end of the month who can justify a month-long celebration - unless you are like poor Toby, Becky, Taryn and my grandfather with birthdays at the end of December that get usurped by Christmas. That just sucks!
But back to me. My birthday is in 10 days and as a result these are officially the 10 days of ME! That means I get to choose what I want to do, with whom, where, when - or not - and there should be presents, and special meals, and treats, and lots of surpirses - and well, whatever is fun!. Hooray! It is the middle of winter and I expect something sunny and special on each of the ten days. David and T&T have come to understand their very important roles in the celebration and generally do fairly well at it. There is a lot to live up to as my father set quite a high standard. (But David has done quite well over the years I might add)
Daddy adored my Mom and always gave her wonderful gifts for all occasions. I particularly remember their 25th wedding anniversary which was just 5 days before Christmas. On the morning of December 20th, Daddy lined up 5 gifts on the dining room table. Each was beautifully wrapped. They ranged from tall to small in a descending order and were intended to be opened one on each of the days from the anniversary to Christmas morning. The first, opened on Day 1, was a cut-crystal pitcher for Mom to add to her collection. Gifts 2 & 3 were a leather wrapped decanter (she also collected decanters) and a piano-playing gnome from the artist in Davidson whose name I can’t recall. Gift 4 was a string of black pearls and on Christmas morning Mom opened a beautiful little pinky ring - a gold cube standing on its corner, each side encrusted in diamonds like a single dice.
For the most part my birthdays have always been pretty amazing, too - well, except for my second one when I learned that I would have to share the rest of my life with a sister. (just kidding Suzette - sort of) I got a puppy for my 6th. On my 13th I had my ears pierced (after pitching a really ugly fit about not accepting anything else as a gift. I guess my payback for that big snit was that my arch nemesis wore the same dress as me to my party.) On my 16th there were engraved invitations and a dinner party. I was away at college for my 18th ( I got drunk for the first time) and I was already married for my 21st (MISTAKE!) For my 25th, my friends took me to a frozen bar outside of Ithaca, NY where it was cold enough to store the Carvel ice cream cake in the car trunk until it was time to light the candles. David surprised me with a weekend in NYC for my 30th (he even packed!)
I thought 35 was the worst year ever. I was depressed. Who wants to be 35? It is too old to be considered young anymore and too young to have any sort of real, well, style. Let’s face it. At 35 you think it is all over when in fact you have only just begun to figure out what “it” is. David made it tolerable by giving me an antique teapot to ease the pain. The pottery mark on the bottom indicated that the place in England where the teapot was made went out of business in 1854. The card read, “No matter how old you are, this teapot will always be at least 100 years older.” Very clever!
At 40 it was my turn to receive the infamous Rose cousins’ rubber chicken. I was determined to outwit the tradition so didn’t go to Maiden for three weeks. A lot of good that did. David published a photo of me at 4-years-old as Little Miss Maiden in the Charlotte Observer and the Hickory Daily record compliments of “Friends of the Rubber Chicken.“ A group of female friends took me for drinks and made a lavish presentation of a framed copy of the ad. Rather embarrassing ,but I thought I had at least escaped the chicken gift. NOT! On Saturday night, a friend at Lake Wylie gave a formal dinner party - guys in black tie, even a friend flown in from New York. The first course was individual crocks of chicken en croute. As I pierced the lovely crust of my portion there it was, baked under the crust, that damn rubber chicken. Hilarious!
For my 50th, 10 of my “favoritest” women in the world met me in London for a week. I am not sure there will ever be a birthday celebration better than that one but I will certainly keep trying.
But I ramble -
Today, David started this year’s 10 Days of Cindy brilliantly by presenting me with a wonderful personal 2-cup coffee press pot - or as they say in Britain, coffee plunger. (The only time I have ever used a plunger associated with coffee was when my kitchen sink was clogged by coffee grounds. I learned from the plumber that we had to call that only “hard” things should go down the disposal: lettuce or cabbage leaves, green onion or leek tops, coffee grounds and such should be composted. Oops!)
But this adorable little plunger made two perfect cups of coffee ( I can't survive without my morning coffee) and is definitely worthy of becoming one of my 100 things. I can’t wait to see what the remaining 9 of the 10 days will bring.
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