Fun fact: I turn forty on Saturday. I am ridiculously excited about it.
Really, it’s kind of silly for me to be excited at all, given that I’ve been telling people that I’m forty for the last eight years. I figured, at thirty-two, with three kids and a dog and a minivan and a house and a community garden plot, that it didn’t matter what age I told people I was. They’d hear forty no matter what I said. So I thought I’d just beat them to the punch. So one would think, given that situation, that my upcoming foray into forty would seem somewhat anticlimactic. But one would think wrong.
I am crazy-thrilled to be forty. I want to give forty a big, wet kiss. I want to take it places and buy it pretty baubles and romance its panties off. I want to take forty home and introduce her to Mother. I want to eat forty chocolates and drink forty sips of wine and run forty miles and catch forty winks and dream forty dreams.
And yet, I’ve made no plans. Because I stink at making plans. So I put it to my kids. This was our conversation:
ME: So. It’s my birthday on Saturday.
THE KIDS: It is? But we’re not ready!
ME: There’s nothing to be ready about. We’re just going to hang out.
CORDELIA: Mom. What do you want for your birthday? And don’t say socks.
(All I ever want is socks. Wool stripey socks. And I never get them.)
ME: But we should do something fun. What should we do?
LEO: I know! Skyzone!
(Do you guys know Skyzone? It’s a huge concrete bunker filled with trampolines, and Leo wants to live there. Here’s a picture:
ME: We are not going to Skyzone.
LEO: Is that because you hate fun?
ELLA: We have to do something that mom likes to do.
CORDELIA: What does mom like to do?
LEO: Grocery shop?
CORDELIA: LET’S GO GROCERY SHOPPING!
ME: We are not going grocery shopping.
ELLA: Are you going to make us clean?
CORDELIA: I hate cleaning.
ELLA: It’s decided. No cleaning on birthdays.
LEO: Mom. I got it. The water park. It’s perfect.
LEO: WHY NOT?
ME: Too much man-sweat and back-tats.
LEO: I don’t even know what that means. You’re not making sense.
ELLA: You guys are terrible at this game.
CORDELIA: WE CAN GO TO THE CRAFT STORE AND YOU CAN BUY US THINGS!
LEO: That’s not as fun as a trampoline.
ELLA: Everything is more fun than a trampoline.
CORDELIA: Let’s go to the Mall of America! And shop!
LEO AND ELLA: MOM HATES THE MALL OF AMERICA AND SHOPPING.
ELLA: And probably America. Mom is a communist.
ME: I prefer “pinko”.
LEO: Mom. Just tell us.
And so I considered.
ME: I know. Let’s go to the book store. And then the sock store. How’s that?
My children shook their heads slowly, long-suffering expressions marring their beautiful faces.
ELLA: Oh, mom.
CORDELIA: Poor, poor mom.
LEO: You really stink at having a birthday.
But they are wrong. I am rocking this thing already.