September 13, 2012: Birthday Celebration
The picture above was taken on my 11th birthday. On back of the picture in my childish cursive handwriting is scripted "Sandy Wagner at 11th birthday. Sept. 13, 1978". Of note are my school uniform, boy haircut (tomboy stage?), and favorite butterfly necklace. What I really want to point out is the exquisite decorating flair of my mother. Note the ornate China lady to my left. My mom made that eloquent conversation piece; big-haired China lady stood proudly on our huge wooden family stereo unit. The bird cage to my right was spray painted gold, filled with fake greens and a fake perched bird. My brothers loved to place that bird in interesting positions.
My birthdays of past included a homemade cake, birthday family dinner of my choice, and my having a few girlfriends over night. If there was a party, it involved a homemade pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey or a free game of tag. There were no nonsensical themes, decorations or over-the-top party destination expenses. And I still loved my birthday. I loved being one of the first birthdays of the school year. I loved the fall-ish weather. And I loved the special attention.
Getting older certainly hasn't disappointed. My 45th b-day was nothing short of awesome. When I was young and thought of getting "old", I just thought birthday celebrations would go away. I was wrong. But they sure have changed. At age 11, I wouldn't have had a clue on Facebook or receiving 200 well wishes from FB friends. A text or cell phone would have been foreign to me. So the constant calls, texts, and voice mails...inconceivable to a child of the seventies. A boyfriend flying in from Denver to celebrate with me...now that would have perked my 11 year old interest, but confused me, no less, as this future life wasn't part of my married-with-children vision.
So my September 13th birthday of 2012 started with my wondering if I would even get a card from my boys. Although one should never "expect" a gift or well wishes, part of me pouted inside on the thought of all my years of painstakingly planning their birthday parties and "no boy left behind" birthday sleep overs with not a hint of corresponding recognition back to their old mom. I did get "Happy Birthday, Mom" greetings from Grant and what sounded like an affirmation grunt from Ben on their way out the door to school. Satisfied and deciding this was as good as a card, I got dressed up for my special day and headed to work.
I was greeted with not one, but two bouquets of flowers delivered to my office (thanks to Mom & Dad and Garrett) and cookies from my parents to share with my co-workers. After many birthday greetings and smiles in the office (everything short of the spanking machine), I was off to the airport to pick up my honey from Denver. I can't lie that I felt like a kid again. To have Garrett fly in to play hooky from work with me was like a high school guilty indulgence. Time is not something Garrett has as a spare commodity, so this mid-work-week rendezvous was a special gift.
Our fun day (which I got to choose EVERYTHING) consisted of lunch lavosh with "Love Potion Number 9" cocktails at M's Pub in the Old Market. And then on to the movie "Sleepwalk with Me" at the vintage Field Streams movie theater in downtown Omaha. As we left the movie, I noticed that another movie I wanted to see would have it's last showing that same afternoon. So after a beer at nearby Goodnights and a nice birthday phone call from my college son, we went back to catch movie number two, Queen of Versailles. Our final stop was at Roja for some Mexican fare and great conversation on the my very peculiar movie choices. Full of a day of fun, it was finally time to call it a night and bid farewell to my birth-day.
I would have to tell you that although there were many kind words from my three sons, deep down I wondered if they really appreciated all of those years of my fussing over their special days. Keeping with my cup is half full philosophy, I kept reminding myself that the words and love from my kids were what mattered. My radar went up with some anticipation as Ben continued to call me while at Roja asking when I would be home. I found this odd since he was with his dad that night and he sounded a bit panicked.
As we walked in the door, I saw what the fuss was about and I melted. Ben had bought me a cake and carefully displayed it on my kitchen table ready for my enjoyment. He had ripped of the back of a notebook and scribbled a birthday message to me with a Sharpie. His worry stemmed from his afterthought of my precocious cat, Abby, wandering around my house. Ben had visions of the cat getting into the cake and creating a frosting disaster to greet his birthday mom's entrance home. Fortunately Abby gave me a gift that night too...she stayed away from the tempting colorful cake. I found out later that there were Twitter postings from my older two proclaiming my birthday as well. They really hadn't forgotten their old mom. Forty-five was a great birthday...yes, indeed :)