My beautiful son, the "unique and special" Thing 1
turned the Big 18 on May 30. For his birthday, he received a suitcase and kick in the butt. Ok, I'm kidding. He didn't receive a suitcase. But he did get a complimentary full tank of gas for the Red Rocket. And the Red Rocket has a very large gas tank.
Until he decided he didn't want to be fussed over on his birthday (fuss of the cash kind was still acceptable, though), we used to throw Thing 1 a big ol' birthday party every year with those Moonbouncer jumpy things and party hats and lots of food and sugary drinks and cake and ice cream and a pinata filled with the good candy. Oh, those were the days.
Unlike my two sisters, *I* never had a birthday party when I was a kid (Bitter Moment #4). Because I had the luck to be born on the same day as my maternal grandmother, my birthday parties consisted of dinner and cake at home with only family present. No friends in party hats, no musical chairs, no pin the tail on the donkey, no pinata. My grandmother would chain-smoke cigarettes and demand yet another Snappy Tom and vodka. What kid wouldn't want to spend their birthdays like that, I ask.
One year, my parents asked what I wanted for my birthday. Since I was all into the Z-Boys of Dogtown fame
all I wanted, I told them, was a skateboard from Harbour Surfboards. With those new-fangled urethane wheels. I told them over and over that I wanted a Harbour Skateboard and under no circumstances were they to get me one of those cheap-ass Black Knight skateboards with the clay wheels.
Yeah, yeah, my parents said. We get it. Well, I think you can guess where this is going. I opened my birthday present and stared down at the Black Knight skateboard with its clay wheels (Bitter Moment #7) and I'm all "Is this a joke?" and they're all, "We got you what you asked for!" and they were all proud of themselves for getting me that skateboard I had specifically asked them NOT to get me while Granny waved her empty glass in the air and cackled, "A dog can't stand on 3 legs! Get me another drink!" Par. Tay.
Flash forward a decade and change. TheManTheMyth and I were still in the Newlywed phase and my birthday was coming up and TheManTheMyth started dropping hints about what he got me. He told me he had thought long and hard about what to get me and he was confident he had picked the perfect gift and I was going to just DIE when I saw it. So of course I have to tell everyone I worked with that my wonderful husband had got me the most fabulous gift and I couldn't wait to get home to find out what it was and I was sure they'd all be jealous when they heard about my kick-ass gift.
So, I get home from work on the day of my birth and the first thing I noticed was the dozen red roses. Which raised an alarm in me. The only time TheManTheMyth EVER buys me roses is when he has done something he knows I'm going to be very, very upset about. Like the time he came home with his mom who had Alzheimers and her mean, nasty dog, announced she would be staying with us for a while and then in the next breath informed me that he was leaving in a few minutes for a Boys Trip for the entire duration of my MIL's stay. And the roses were to make it all ok. Yeah. Roses = Bad News.
Next thing I see is something very big and bulky wrapped in a black trash bag with a big red bow on it. Ok, now my curiosity was killing me. TheManTheMyth tells me Happy Birthday and to go ahead and open my present. I tear off the "wrapping" and I'm confronted with this:
I stare at it. Then I stare at TheManTheMyth, who has a huge, happy, proud smile on his face and then I stare back at this...this...thing. And I say something along the lines of "What. The. Hell? And TheManTheMyth is all, "It's a transmission! For the Baja Bug! Isn't it GREAT! " and I'm all "Are you serious?" and he's all "I know! Don't you just love it!" and I'm all "Is is a joke?" while looking around for the Candid Camera because this has to be a joke, right? Who in their right mind would get their wife a transmission for an off-road vehicle she never even wanted to begin with as a birthday gift?
The Baja Bug was my surprise Christmas present (and not a surprise in the "good" sense) and TheManTheMyth had been spending hundreds of hours, not to mention thousands of dollars, getting this thing all fixed up and ready to race the Dakar rally. For me. That Baja Bug ended up taking on a life of its own and there are quite a few stories that will have to wait for another day.
So that was pretty much the end of TheManTheMyth picking out my birthday and Christmas gifts, although he did completely take me by surprise one Christmas, in a great way, when I opened my gift and found diamond earrings. But nowadays, we just get our own gifts and act all surprised when we open them and there are no more transmission surprises.
It's how we keep our marriage working successfully. Because we're a couple of old fashioned romantics is what we are.
Maybe this will be the year I finally get a pinata. A girl can hope.