I remember birthday weeks of the past. They were always deeply entrenched in soccer season, and there were multiple grandparents and multiple venues and between Mate, myself, my biomom, Chicken, and my Auntie, there were five birthdays in a week.
Things have calmed down since then.
Everyone's still alive, but Chicken is an adult and all she needs is takeout of her choice, and my Auntie is happy with a card, and Mate and I get excited about going out to dinner together.
Biomom, no lie, is super excited if I show up at her care home with a coffee drink and then take her to the drive thru at Burger King. For those out there going, "Geez, Amy, could you spring for a better lunch venue?" I need to emphasize we used to try. We'd go get her, bring her to a nice place for lunch, and then bring her back and make a thing out of it, and she hated it. She's got about twenty-five minutes, tops, in her to socialize before she's done. And by done I mean she will turn around and walk away and refuse to talk sort of done.
So it was a very laid back set of birthdays.
I took bio-mom to get a haircut. This was a big deal because her last haircut was around this time in 2019. She doesn't care for her hair--doesn't brush it and barely washes it--so we were going to get it cut super short every six months or so, just on general hygiene principle. If you do the math, you might see that certain things (*cough* COVID) got in the way, and she was long overdue. (I'll be honest--this was supposed to be a thing my aunts and I did as a team--after the care home opened up and we were all vaccinated, they kept saying, "Yeah, we should do that," and I was finally like, "Okay. Fine. I guess that means me.") The beauty salon is one that is used by a lot of people from care homes like hers, or people on the skids trying to look like they can afford a job--or an apartment--or who just generally walk in for a $10 haircut. It's not a great area and the people who do business there know exactly who their clientele is and prepare accordingly.
In short, I spent my afternoon getting chewed out by a tiny woman with a thick accent who wanted me to know that we needed to do this WAY more often.
I, uhm, tipped her a LOT for multiple shampoos and a Ferris Bueller hairdo and consider it money well spent.
Afterward I took bio-Mom for Burger King after giving her flowers and a slice of cake and a small stuffed animal with a card. She thought it was a wonderful birthday, and I was happy she was happy. And there better not be another pandemic between now and the next time I bring her in for a haircut. (I've given up hoping for my aunties. All me.)
Which reminds me, my Auntie got a text and a Happy Birthday and a picture of my bio-mom with a new haircut.
So that was bio-mom.
Chicken got takeout, and a number of presents including a dumpster fire nightlight, which I'm not sure she liked but I thought was hilarious so it's her fault for being my offspring. The super sad thing about her birthday was that she got sick! She spent four day student teaching seven year olds and walked out with a head cold and a fever that has kept her out of the classroom all week. So yesterday, in conversation, she said something about being 26 years old and I said, "Twenty-seven, darling. You just had your birthday," and she said, "Oh FUCK that, I'm not counting it until this head cold is history!" (For those curious? She had to have a clear COVID test to even get on campus after showing up with a fever. Not COVID, just the crud.)
The good news is Chicken doesn't have to leave Carl with us until she goes back to student teaching, so she's currently cuddling her dog in a fever dream. Happy birthday!
Mate is ordering a new iPhone. It's a point of honor among engineers, I think. He's had the X for a while, and he really wants the 13 because all of his friends have a new one and he's feeling left out. I'm fine with that. He gets more enjoyment out of his phone than any teenager I've ever known.
And for me? Mate got me a desk chair--a brand new one. And boy, did I need a brand new one. The old one was broken in several places--it wouldn't raise or lower, it was stuck in one position where my feet were in an uncomfortable position which made it hard to walk the next day. The rubber had come completely off the armrest and it was down to sharp metal and bolts--the list goes on.
This one's lovely. I was expecting Big & Tall, basic model, but Mate got me something padded, and luxurious--it's got a MESSAGE function, with settings.
I told my parents about that and they were like, "You know what's going to happen, don't you?" and I was like, "I won't have cramps in my ass when I'm done writing?"
They were like, "No. You're going to fall asleep in your chair."
Well, probably. But what a way to go.
So Mate and I are going out to our favorite place to eat tomorrow, which will be lovely, and when I asked him if he wanted pie, or a cake, or anything, he looked... well, we're both rounder than we'd like. And I said, "So, Chicken, Big T, and Big T's girlfriend are all coming over Sunday for donuts. How about we have Birthday Donuts--that will be our cake."
And we both remembered the days when we literally ate cake and pie for days--for meals even--because it was everywhere, and the part of us that has just hit a new year was very relieved.
It's no longer the hectic family-palooza it used to be, but I'm going to sit in my soft chair and try not to fall asleep and call it a win.