Birthdays of Yesterday

Before I get started on this recollection of my past birthdays, I want to say not all the good was great and not all the bad was horrible. It is what it is. It has shaped me into who I am today…

If I think hard, I can remember my 3or 4 yr. old birthday. Not the birthday itself but I vaguely remember the trip to see my dad. The first and last time I would see him till I was 24. I only have bad memories from this trip. These memories have caused a lot of therapy needed over the years. The truth and the actual happenings I am not even sure of anymore. I just know for sure there were machines all over the zoo we went to that you could put change into and it would shoot out sculptures of the animals you were seeing. There was a snake on the loose, and I lost a flip flop into a bear den that my dad hung me into.  On the trip up at some point, a fake snake was bought for me and it would live a short life, my great Aunt would chop it up into tiny pieces thinking it was a real snake at some point after I returned home.  

My 5 yr. old party- That was a big party with all my church friends and my family. I like to call that the year of school presents … I had that birthday and then I had a birthday with the people from my grandfather’s church. I’m not sure why I had two. I got a lot of school supplies, but I remember one family gave me dream-catching dolls. I am not sure exactly what they are called but it was an entire little family of thread dolls and the story goes that if you put them under your pillow at night, they would protect you from your dreams. Another family gave me this little bear in a little wooden container. My dream dolls would live there for many years. My cake was a barbie, with a blue and white dress. Blue was my childhood favorite color because my papaw loved blue, I’d imagine. My papaw gave me this little baby doll that I didn’t like so much but even then, I felt a great need to make sure the giver knew I loved the gift. So, it was my favorite baby for a long time. 

My second party was at the main family in my grandparent’s church. They made me a cake and gave me gifts. That is how I came into contact with what would be my favorite teddy bear “tender heart” from the care bears for as long as I can remember. (I STILL have him). If I am not mistaken Ms. Pauline gave me a little green briefcase-looking book bag full of school supplies. We kids played on the trampoline in the front yard and that is all I remember. 

The next party I remember is a sleepover at my house. I was 8 I am assuming because we got our trailer the year I turned 8. The attendees were mostly way older than me. However, they were friends of my mom’s kids. So, they got invited. There is a picture of a cake and me somewhere. Plus, some of the people that attended. What I remember is the VCR that my mom rented, didn’t work but the next day she figured it out and we got to keep it longer. I wanted to watch the parent trap. Finally, we got to. 

I do not know how old I was turning, but I know it is one of the birthdays that were extremely special to me. I don’t remember gifts but I remember the cake. It was the best tasting cake ever put in my mouth but we had to eat it with a spoon cause it all fell apart and when we arrived at Ms. Becky’s house, she was crying about it. She wanted it to be perfect for me. My mom’s friends attended that one. MS Becky hosted, and the three kids I remember being there were all kids of my mom’s friends and we were all oddly spaced apart in age. I had to be between 10-12.

Around these ages, I remember a pizza hut outing with me and my mom, a couple of my mom’s friends & kids. It was the gift I remember. It was a jean jacket I wanted so badly. So, in the blistering heat of August in Louisiana, I got a jean jacket for my birthday.  

I don’t remember any other birthdays until I was 15. We went shopping in Alexandra with Pizza Hut and I had a sleepover. We all slept in the house at the back of our property. I had a bedroom set up over there and we had a sofa, desk, and tv we set up … with a VCR. The guest list was a bit strange. I think it was four or five girls. One girl I’d never met till that day. We went to the mall where I went off on my own, I knew exactly where and what I was doing, my mom was panicking and they spent a lot of time finding me. When we got back home, we all headed over to the house and I don’t even know what we did, but I remember everyone fell asleep except me and my bestie who proceeded to drink all the fermented plum juice that my mom had frozen up for my birthday punch, not having any idea it would ferment. Anyway, we didn’t sleep and it was time for everyone to leave. So, my mom left to take everyone home and I decided when I was supposed to be cleaning up, I watched a movie instead. Fell asleep and slept through Sunday. That my friend was 15.

My Sweet 16 was about backwoods, and the country as you could have it. Again, the house at the back of our property was used. Everything in the living room was pushed against the walls so we could have plenty of dancing space. I had invited one of my girl cousins to come down to my party (what was I thinking, she walked in when I wasn’t there and two of my guy friends were cutting toenails or something) and everyone else ignored her. Needless to say, I never saw her because she left before I got back. You may ask where I was? After all, it was my sweet 16. Well, one of the guys that one of my friends wanted to hook up with needed a ride. So my bestie wasn’t about to leave. She was trying to date a guy that was already there. None of my friends wanted to go, I didn’t have my license then my friends showed up and offered to drive our van to go get the guy. My mom was like if he’s driving you going with him. Sigh… So, I did. We got terribly lost, then almost stuck in the mud. at least we had our guy on board then it was off for pizzas to bring home. I got back to my birthday party around 8. My friend, the guy we went to get, who was supposed to be my friend’s date when we got there, had already hooked up with one guy. (The group guy slut). My friends had decorated the bathroom to say never been kissed. They weren’t wrong. Everyone kept kissing me on my cheek all night. I had no idea why. Then, of course, I remember when the biggest guy in the group, all 200 plus leather boots and jacket during summer, grabbed me in a bear hug and pulled me over his lap to be spanked. I had on a short blue fitted skirt and a low-cut white top. So, I’m sure at some point more of me was showing than I would have liked. I could barely walk the next day and my bum was so sore. The couples danced and the rest of us sat around and chatted or ran around outside playing childhood games. My mom only checked in on us once and that was what would set the president for parties to be had at my house …  Honestly, I don’t know or remember how I felt, Other than being left out and a stranger at my party. 

The only other Birthdays are 18 and 21. I remember Parts of them. On my 18 I did not have a party but my bestie helped make it a good birthday. We would travel out of town and stay at some super cool hotels, go shopping, do some drinking, lots of food, swim, and eventually return home. That all happened before my birthday. On my actual birthday, my mom had a chocolate cake made for me. However, my bestie and I waited for her to come home to cut it and she ended up giving the first piece of cake to a guy she liked who only thought of her as a friend. There were tears and frustration. 

Then the last birthday (I semi Remember) is my 21. A few days before my birthday our ac went out and four of us friends were stuffed in one tiny bedroom with a window unit, we were miserable because also in that room were dogs, guinea pigs, and cats. Did I mention I had pneumonia? We already had plans to leave town and go to our favorite hotel for the weekend? So the bestie looked into going early and it turns out we could check in two days earlier. We got the permission of the 15-year-old in the group to come but only if we brought her little brother who was 9 or 10. So we packed up, took all the animals to our bestie’s mom’s house and we headed out. Three of my best friends, one little brother, and one very sick Evie.  On the morning of my birthday, I woke up with a 104 fever, pink eye in both eyes, and the plan to go buy liquor. Off to Target, we went; liqueur was bought and we returned to the hotel and Got into the indoor pool. To help my fever of course. 

For the next 8 years, I would have party after party. None that I can remember really. Maybe bits and pieces but not enough to put together as a story. Why did I miss out on * years of birthdays? Well because I was drunk most of the time. For you just becoming of the age to drink or are you that person that has one too many yet says they are just getting started … That was me. 

My niece turns 21 this year. IN fact, by the time you read this, she will be a month into 21. While I did get her a wine sippy and a shot glass for her special day, I will also give her this message of keeping herself sober, not giving in to drinking so hard and fast you don’t remember anything, and loving herself more than I did at her age. Thankfully none of my blood runs through her and all the bad decisions are just mine. 

For you my friends that read this, I want you to know this message.  Birthday parties do not define who we become. Some of us may have had huge parties and some of us didn’t have any at all. Birthdays are only for a day. Sometimes a month when you’re super lucky! But in the sense of it only one day. Sure, you should celebrate your day. Being thankful for another year alive. Rejoicing all the amazing things life has provided for you. You certainly don’t need a crowd of gifts for that. Life is funny we live an entire year and only one day is set aside for us, but the truth is if we are going to look at gifts being part of a birthday, every day is a gift. You are being celebrated each day with life and the comforts that life can provide. XOXO

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