Monday, April 11, 2005
My 41st birthday arrives with a bang, a bell, waking me at nine a.m. sharp as the family has plans to attend the horse races at the Santa Anita racetrack, in the infield, promising fun, lost bets, a blast, on this bright and sunny day. Auntie’s Day Out, my sister, takes the lead right off, calling me to make sure I have everything in place, the picnic foods, the kids, the husband, the right clothes, the shoes, a hat? Sunscreen? Yes, I say, moving firmly into second place because I have everything I need, but one never knows for sure because things happen just like that time we wanted to go to the mountains and none us ended up going because Darling Spouse With a Hat had a last-minute meeting to attend and there was no way I could go with all three kids? I’m holding back, I know, but I can’t help it, I’m second guessing, double-checking, and thrice looking. At that point, I’m surprised by Darling Spouse With a Hat coming forward, all smiles, singing birthday tunes, and getting the kids dressed, brushed, and punished for misdeeds as usual, and the children are blossoming and damn if I don’t fall back into fourth place, Auntie still ahead, Darling Spouse with a Hat coming into second, the kids, All The Kids, in third. This is when, I, Forty First Birthday, hop into the shower and hop out to dress, dry, and dream about pictures I’ll take with my new zoom lens. My normally in first place brother, Lucky Brother Every Day, shocks me by calling and saying he’s stuck…stuck in fifth place because Trouble in a Tank Top, his wife, in sixth place, is exhausted from her business trip and is still sleeping and he doesn’t know when he’ll get to the finish and doesn’t, he notes, doesn't the finish seem oh so far away and maybe he should just call it quits? Maybe he’ll have to fall back even further and meet us there at the end rather than at Auntie’s house or worse, maybe end it altogether and never get to the finish. No, I say, keep on! Rush, boy, come on, boy, we have to meet at Auntie’s, that’s the plan to meet at Auntie’s, don’t let us down, Lucky Brother Every Day! At which point we all fly forward out of the neighborhood, tearing through the town, onto the freeway turf, until at last we see Auntie’s house, the final stretch towards the finish line, but then tragedy strikes, with the next-to-youngest member of team All the Kids, M, as she vomits all her strawberries into her lap, the rest of the Kids team members gagging and screaming while me and Darling Spouse With a Hat simply look at each other, crippled and limping back into fifth and sixth place respectively, watching Lucky Brother Every Day pass us by, Trouble in a Tank Top waving and looking sympathetic but having no choice in taking over second and third place, Auntie still dominating. By the time we roll into the final stretch, Darling Spouse with a Cigar comes up from seventh place with the hose so we could rinse M’s clothes stripped off, the blanket, and the car seat. At this point, Auntie packs her car, I give M a bath, the Darling Spouses come up from the rear and finish the packing, getting the kids buckled, getting the dogs locked away, locking the house. I then tear out of the house, stick M into her car seat and finally, lastly, we all shut our SUV doors and race towards the finish, for a photo finish, just happy to have made it to the track in one piece.
We were all winners that day. We had a lovely time in the sun, watching the races while the kids played on the slides, played the games, and ate the best picnic food. Only T, my brother's wife, won a significant number of races making her the one with the most accurate instincts. We definitely want to go again.
Happy Birthday to me, this past weekend. Happy Birthday to all my family and friends and fellow bloggers. Happy Birthday to everyone whose birthday I’ll forget this coming year.