my eldest turned nineteen yesterday, so that meant twenty candles on
her birthday cake. I don't know if mine is the only family to add
"one to grow on" but we do. As my mother would say, my
daughter is now in her twentieth year.
the fact that she and her sister wouldn't get home until nine
o'clock, the birthday girl insisted we wait to have dinner. It was
her special day, after all. I suggested perhaps having the
celebratory dinner on another evening, so we could eat when normal
people do. But she'd have none of it: Birthdays are to be celebrated
on the correct day, after all. And so we agreed: Dinner was to be
served (in the form of takeout pizza) at nine, followed immediately
by the cheesecake I'd baked the night before.
eight forty-five, my husband and son went for pizza. I went to the
kitchen, stomach growling, and began peeling carrots for the next
day's school lunches.
car pulled into the driveway. The dog barked. The garage door opened.
An idea crept into my head: I set the peeler and the knife on the
counter. I got down onto my knees. Then I sprawled face-down on the
floor and closed my eyes. And as I lay there, waiting for the girls
to come in, the thought occurred to me that perhaps this wasn't a
good idea. Scaring one's offspring half to death never is.
thought about leaping to my feet, before my daughters came in. But at
forty-six (I guess that would put me in my forty-seventh year),
leaping isn't much of an option anymore. The cool tile pressed
against my cheek and the floor was rather comfortable. I giggled to
myself as I waited.
is what happens, I thought, when your kids are preparing to
head off to college: You revert to your silly immature self, the self
you used to be before you had to grow up, the self who has lurked
just beneath the surface of your skin, biding its time, waiting to
emerge and reveal to your kids who you truly are.
door opened. "Oh," the birthday girl said.
her sister quickly added, "Are you all right?"
funny," one of them snapped as I struggled to my feet.
car pulled into the driveway.
garage door open.
husband and son returned with two large pizzas and a bottle of grape
Crush. We dished out plates like playing cards and sat down to eat.
daughter looked at me. "I never would have expected that from
husband smiled at me and lifted his eyebrows.
was just really hungry," I said, pulling off a piece of sausage
and popping it in my mouth.
Labels: Creative non-fiction, essay