Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Other Side Of The *&$!% Birthday.

I bring this on myself, so I'm not sure why I'm always shocked when my daughter's birthday goes down in flames. We're only two hours into the day and in my mind, her perfect special day is shot. By me. I'm so frantic trying to make her day special and perfect that I actually sabotage the already perfect-ness of it all.

It began last night at 3:30 a.m. when my SEVEN-YEAR-OLD who still doesn't sleep through the night woke me up because she was itchy. I'm not saying my kid is a liar, but I think this was a ploy to soak up attention before it all goes to her sister, the birthday girl.

I'm not upset about the waking up part, I'm upset about the not-going-back-to-sleep part. It takes time for this caffeinated beast to find her zen again. I didn't fall back to sleep until 5:00 a.m. because I was running through my list: Shit, do we have vanilla ice cream? need to wrap birthday gifts-where did Derek hide them?, paige wants sports bras, do we have candles?, Paige's sheets ripped - why did they rip - do I need to cut her toenails? why do all menstrual products have an "X" in them? Kotex, Tampax, what's up with that? X marks the spot? Christ, who was in charge of naming menstrual products, a MAN? That makes no sense, why ...

My alarm is set to mexican musak - I have no idea why - so the obnoxious maracas blared at 7:30 a.m. Our usual tradition is to blow up balloons and fill the birthday girl's room with them so she wakes up to a party. Last year I happen to have poster board, so I wrote a sign. This year, we just went with the balloons. The first thing she said this morning was not, "Hey! It's my birthday!" It was, "I thought there would be a sign, so I even checked my closet, but it wasn't there, so ..."

So... what exactly are you saying? Are you saying I fucked up your birthday because I didn't create a sign? Why am I so defensive? Why didn't I make the godforsaken sign???

Moving on. I bought special doughnuts for everyone so we could have a treat for breakfast. I put a candle in Parker's doughnut, then Paige wanted to put a candle in the doughnut, then Paige wanted a candle in HER doughnut, so we argued about that. I sang "Happy [fucking] Birthday" in my best singsong voice even though I only had a nap last night. Paige said, "I don't really like this doughnut - it tastes weird." Derek set his down and said, "Yeah, I'm not feelin' custard-filled today." Parker said, "Sorry, I don't like mine either." So in the trash they go.

Thank God I put a birthday poem in her lunch bag. That will make up for the trashed doughnuts and missing sign.

In my guilt-ridden-wanting-everything-to-be-perfect head, the entire day was quickly going in the trash. Then came the bomb.

I decorated her desk and coat area at school (WITH A SIGN BY THE WAY) with streamers and balloons. That will be a nice surprise. I hope. As I tossed the doughnuts in the trash, Parker said, "So, usually the birthday boy or girl passes out bouncy balls or pencils to celebrate their birthday...did you happen to get anything?" I think my head popped off because she immediately recovered and said, "It's okay if you didn't, I was just wondering."

The motherfucking classroom goody bags. I forgot.

I'm so busy killing myself with the extras that I forgot about the basics. The Classroom Goody Bag (which technically, I consider an extra, but seemingly has become one of the basics). I think I need a goody bag filed with a massage and bottle of wine.

And the real basic, the ONLY basic that matters is that I want her to remember this day as a happy, relaxed day. Instead, she's going to remember her mother ranting and raving about having no sleep, rushing to CVS for bullshit bouncy balls, and trying to fit in a shower before everyone arrives tonight. Instead of celebrating ten years old, she's going to remember trying to calm down her lunatic mother. That's not fair.

So I'm going to flip my thinking to the other side of the birthday. She doesn't need anything special and perfect - she already IS special and perfect. I just need to sit back and cherish her, rather than worry about all the things I'm not doing right. A hug is always right. A kiss on the head is better than a stupid doughnut.

It's not WHAT I do, it's HOW I do it. That is what creates the feeling, the memory, of a very special day indeed. Happy Birthday Parker Sue!

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