October 04, 2011

Birthday Matters

I turned 36 on Friday.

I must admit I'm a total baby when it comes to my birthday. I want people to remember and wish me well and cook me French toast and send me flowers and kiss me and come home with me and tell me how young I look.

Last week, I bought myself flowers. I asked my friends to come meet me in Vegas. I drove myself to Vegas through the desert. I breakfasted on French toast and eggs at the Big Boy buffet in Baker. I brought a bottle of champagne. I blew up the birthday balloons.

All of these things were nice. I can do nice all by myself. But the nice things don't really matter.

Our room at the Flamingo stunk like an ashtray. We had to switch rooms. I forgot my ticket to get into the pool party at the Palazzo. Michelle's flight was on ground delay because of sudden storms ravaging New York. When she finally arrived, we could barely find a restaurant that was serving dinner past 10:30 p.m. The Justin Timberlake and Friends concert we all came to Vegas for featured five hours of performances by everyone except Justin Timberlake.

All of these things were annoying. They could have derailed our trip. But the annoyances don't really matter.

What really matters on my birthday?

It matters that I have two friends who love me so much, they dropped everything - school, work, patients, husband, responsibilities - to fly across the country to be with me.

Long gone are the days of cupcake parties and birthday clowns twisting animal balloons at the Ground Round, paper crowns from the Burger King and unicorn cakes from the Wegman's bakery. Instead, together we three friends sipped champagne while we showered, sang along to the radio while we drove, and stared out into the desert together.

I didn't think about getting older, because, at 36, I'm not too old for anything. Then again, as a friend reminded me last week, I'll never be too old for anything.

Related reading:
The 35-Year-Old Spinster

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