Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Birthday

I looooooooooove my birthday. I love it like I'm 7 years old and think the world is mine on that day. I think it should be a national holiday, where everyone pays tribute to me for....existing. I love the sound of "July 21st", I love seeing 7-21. I LOVE my birthday.

However, as I have grown and matured, I have realized that perhaps that is a juvenile view and that not everyone feels like I do. I turned 27 three weeks after I got married. I worked up my first "married birthday" that nothing short of a visit from the Queen of England would top. Poor J didn't have a chance with the expectations I had worked up in my mind.

It was a Sunday, which in and of itself was lame. :) J got up early and made me a cake as well as breakfast. He made dinner, and he doted on me. I simpered in bed that night about how he didn't get me anything. J's eyes bulged and his hands swept around the room, motioning to the mountains of wedding presents lining the walls in our apartment---"our house is FULL of presents, what more could you possibly want!?"

He was so, so right. I was so, so a brat. Being able to let me put that kind of ridiculousness behind me is one of the many reasons I love J. He didn't attribute that to who I was. I remembered my mom's advice when I was turning 22 on my mission (I mean, really---how much fun could you have one a mission!?). She said, "Don't have expectations and you won't be disappointed." This is great advice. I keep it in the back of my head for a lot of situations. I took it to heart. In fact, I took it so much to heart, that when I opened a cupboard in our kitchen the day before my birthday and saw a huge stash of cupcakes, my roommate was SURE I had found her out, but I just thought she was cheating on our diet. To this day, she's convinced I knew, and to this day, I maintain that I was oblivious.

The morning of my 22nd birthday we had a song practice and so 150 of us met at 7 in the morning in the tabernacle, sitting in the seats where the tabernacle choir performed. I showed up at probably 6:59 and 59 seconds, because almost everyone was there, and because I'm always late. As I walked up the steps, the entire group started singing Happy Birthday. THAT was awesome. Then my friends threw me a surprise party at like 8:15 am. Cupcakes for breakfast. It was an awesome day. It was made most memorable by the silky green nightie my mom sent me. Her explanation for sending me that, as my mother, while on my mission was: It was Victoria Secret AND it was my color. Of course you send your 22 year old daughter a nightie then.

Anyway, I turned...old yesterday. The number appalls me. I don't know why, it just does. J and I have been ridiculously busy, basically tag-teaming it with children, studying, and bare minimum for household chores. We just have to get through this month, and that's what we've been doing. I have barely thought of my birthday.

J staged an intervention. He wrote to my friends that he always thought it was sad in the TV show "Intervention" that all the loved ones sat around reading heartfelt letters, telling the person how they felt AFTER they'd become an addict. Why not express those things as a celebration? So, many of my friends did. It is the single most wonderful gift I can imagine. Friends telling me how much they love me. And in creative ways to boot! I don't think I've laughed and smiled this much in YEEEAAAAAARRRRRRS.

My friend Michelle came over after all the festivities had died down and I had read all the great posts on my FB wall. She wrote me a backwards letter. I had to hold it up to the light to read it. She's crazy and clever like that. Her daughter wrote me a letter and was equally as crazy in her presentation. I can't think of clever stuff like that, so I always appreciate it.

I don't mean to play favorites, but her husband wrote me a book. It is a brilliant masterpiece, complete with illustrations, which he produced in under 10 minutes. I want to record it here, but it needs a little background. No matter how stupid I have to look....

A couple of years ago James and I took our kids to the children's museum. I was wandering around looking at some of the displays and watching the kids. There was a chicken display talking about how many eggs a chicken lays, that the hair on the chicken's head determine the color of the eggs, etc, etc. It was interesting to me, but something stumped me. I couldn't figure out why these chickens would lay eggs, if there was no rooster. I was in my early to mid thirties and didn't know about chickens and eggs. I have moments like this. They are probably "blonde moments" but, you know, I'm not blonde.

So I, an intelligent, articulate, confident, woman, walked up to James and say loudly in front of his 11 year old daughter, "Where do chickens eggs come from, if there's no rooster?" I was completely confident this was a reasonable question for a smart, mother of three to be asking. James' eyebrows shot up and his head sort of tilted to the side, almost as if he was trying to determine my angle---if this was a joke, a well played one. After about 30 seconds of me standing there expectantly, obviously not joking, he looked around and then kind of turned his body to shield his 11 year old from either my stupidity or the content of the conversation that would ensue. Or both.

He slowly and deliberately said, "Well, you know, you have eggs that don't get fertilized that get released every month, right?"

I suddenly realized what I had done and my face flushed red and I backed away and then burst out laughing, and then we laughed for probably a solid 10 minutes. He texted his wife (who worked at the same place as J) and told her what I'd done. She found J and let him know what a discreet genius he was married to. We have laughed about it several times since.

Last night, he wrote me a book/card covering the basics. I won't be able to share the amazing illustrations, but the writing will suffice for your enjoyment.

The Chicken -OR- the Egg? Written and illustrated by: Dr. James _______

Dear Angela,
Now that you are 29 I think it's a good time to tell you a few things. I'm sure you know about bird and the bees - and how they do what they please, but what about chickens?

(A lovely diagram of a chicken, complete with phonetic pronunciation of "hen")
Some chickens are girls and they have special parts that do special things. To tell you the truth not much is known about the female species.

(Another lovely diagram of the rooster)
Notice the male of the species. Head strong, cock sure - he walks around with a comb on his head, bops his head whenever he walks and if he wore pants the would be sagging--no doubt.

(Then the hen and rooster interact)
"Hey baby, I can see you're not wearing anything under that frock. Would you like to come back to my nest?" (the rooster is smiling)

Then they kiss and make baby chickens called chicken nuggets. So if anyone asks you how you like your eggs in the morning--you say unfertilized!!!! Happy Birthday

Educational AND entertaining. Just how I like to learn. :)

My husband is awesome. I doubt he could top this birthday gift. :) He doesn't have to.


Heffalump said...

I'm glad that your birthday was awesome and wonderful and that you are so loved!
I try not to think of eggs that grosses me out just a tiny little bit.

Rebecca said...

OH MY.. I have often wondered the same thing about the you needed a rooster to get things going..I guess fertilized ones have chickens in them.. I don't care what you do..but you must send the illustrations to the book.. a must..
and yay for happy birthdays!

Sketchy said...


Sounds like a completely awesome birthday, so much that you didn't miss my lack of Facebook message, which has become the barometer of true friendship. Or at least public friendship.

Sketchy said...

And seriously? You're appalled about your age? I'm 42. And if I wasn't 42 I'd be dead right now, so I'm good with it. It's worth it to have had 42 years of the wonderment that has been my life, especially compared to dead.

Not that there's anything wrong with dead people, I just don't want to join up just yet.

Klin said...

My uncle stopped calling them birthdays and began calling them periods of improvement.

I, too, love my birthday. I don't expect much but I'd love to get much more. Shhh. No need to make anyone feel guilty.

I loved your story! L.O.V.E.D. it!

Glad you birthday was as awesome as I think you are.

Andrea said...

Happy belated birthday! Thanks for the egg education. What a great dh! I got nothing. As usual. I did however throw myself a party. Maybe that's better than I can invite who I want and do what I want:)

Barnecked Lady said...

I felt the same way about the number I turned this year too, weird. OLD. lol. The day before i was completely depressed, then on my birthday I decided it wasn't so bad. lol.:) Happy Birthday again!

Jennifer MacInnis said...

You did not tell me about the chicken book ... just made my afternoon! Reading posts ... without pictures!