Tuesday, March 23, 2010

my birthday goes by so fast

Growing up, both of my parents made a big deal about our birthdays. My mom would let us choose the kind of cake we wanted, flavor and shape, and we could have a friend party every year if we wanted. Now, we could only invite as many friends as we were years old, and our parties weren't as involved as many of the parties are now. There was no theme, no decorations, the guests didn't go home with favors, and there just wasn't a whole lot of fluff that we have today. They were still really fun parties.

We had cake and ice cream, and games, and present opening, and lots of laughter. My mom didn't seem to stress about whether or not the house was immaculate, or whether or not everything was perfect, and maybe partially because of that, she really seemed to enjoy having my friends come over. Having a relaxed and happy mom could only add to the fun of course, and I have great memories of all my birthday parties growing up.

As for my dad, it was important to him that if at all possible, we not cry on our birthday. We could run into trouble and tears the other 364 days of the year, but as far as he was concerned, our birthday should be a tear-free day. That was sometimes a tall order considering that we were six kids born within twelve years of each other, all living in the same house and all vying for (more than) our share of the attention pretty much 24/7/365, others' birthdays notwithstanding.

Basically, both my parents were great about birthdays. When it comes to my childhood memories of my birthdays, I count myself a lucky lucky girl.

Then came high school.

As you'll remember, I ran track in High School. As you will also remember, mid-March is prime interval time for High School Track & Field training. Your memory will also tell you that intervals are agony, pure unadulterated agony.

My father was my track & field coach.
I held back tears every time I did an interval workout.
My birthday is March 13.

You see the problem, don't you?

My dad and I had several March negotiations, and the bulk of them had to do with what kind of workout we'd be doing on March 13 each year. Sometimes I'd be a good sport, and realize that dad had to weigh what was best for the team against what would make his daughter the most happy. Most of the time I wouldn't be a good sport, and my poor agonized father would have to choose between what he wanted/needed to do as a coach and what he wanted (desperately) to do as a father. I feel badly about that now. It was stressful for him, all the more so because I was a (typical) self-centered teenager who didn't realize that the world didn't revolve around her.

Sorry about that, dad.

Anyway, the point of all of this is to essentially say that it was my birthday eariler this month. I had a lovely day. I played with Heather in the morning, went to Wal-Mart all by myself in the afternoon (where I bought myself a salad spinner, a pastry blender, and two Percy Jackson books), and Eric and I went to the fanciest restaurant in Logan in the evening while Heather played with her grandparents. It was glorious. I spent the few days before conning Eric into shoulder rubs and garbage runs and dirty diaper changes all in the name of my birthday, and I'm planning to continue along this same track for at least the rest of the month.

It's times like these that I think of my dad. How much he must miss me living in his home . . .

quirky 3-10
(Yes, that is a shoelace in my hair. It was the 80's)

And how glad he must be to have handed over his birthday care duties.

Poor poor Eric.

(My dad looks less than thrilled in the photo because he is about to perform his most dreaded fatherly chore--scooping out ice cream for the children. Every time we had ice cream, my dad had to endure all of us comparing our portion to the portion of our siblings. Since it was humanly impossible to get all the servings exactly equal, there were ALWAYS complaints and whining about our respective servings. Super stressful for my dad. Years later he told me that that Sunday ice cream scooping was the most stressful part of his week. This is a man who at the time was performing medical surgeries at least once a week. Who knew?)

This is a tough one, so I'll give you a few hints:

The musical is based on the memoirs of a striptease artist from the burlesque era

Natalie Wood (of West Side Story fame) played the title role in the movie version of this musical

The name of the song is the name of the stuffed animal to which the song is sung

Okay--that's all you get!

10 points for the name of the song

5 points for the name of the musical

3 points for the name of the character who sings the song

other points awarded by whim


Carol said...

Is the musical Gypsy?

I think the song is sung to a lamb - so I'm thinking the title is "Little Lamb" - huge guess on my part. I just remember it all seeming like the lamb that used to be on the TV show.

That's all I got!

Carol said...

How could I forget - happy belated birthday. You remind me of an old beau that strongly believed that your birthday wasn't just a day - it was a month. He was great at getting free meals and other items for the entire month! I say if you only started a few days before your birthday and will only go until the end of the month, Eric should probably count himself lucky!!

I am glad you had a great day. You deserve it!!

By the way, I just noticed that I didn't post the name of the character who sings the song. Is it Louise?

Anonymous said...

I hope you had a very Happy Birthday Charlotte!! I am with you, sometimes a shopping trip on my own, even if it is to Walmart, is like a small slice of paradise.

I love the ice cream drama. Funny how when we all get together Dad is still put in charge of the ice cream. I will have to remember to ask him if he wants to be relieved of ice cream duty next time we are in town :) Jacob's great at scooping ice cream. (I couldn't help throwing in a Willisism)

Kami Willis said...

I don't have a clue. Birthdays are a big deal in my family as well. You actually share a birthday with my youngest sister. We often drag birthdays out into a birthday week. A phrase often heard is, "It's my birthday week so I don't have to do the dishes."

I don't blame your Dad for not being thrilled about scooping the ice cream. I hate that job too.

Charlotte said...

Carol does a clean sweep of all the non-whim points--18 total.

Melissa gets two points for a classic Willisism, one which made me laugh out loud.

Kami gets one point for the glimpse into her own family birthday traditions, and two points for having the name Willis AND being the next commenter after Melissa's Willisism comment. Kami--ask Kyle if he is descended from Annie Buck, will ya? She's kind of like the common denominator for us with any Willises that we're related to.

Scott and Amy said...

Okay, my comment is on the ice cream. My parents realized they could make it more equal if they took the ice cream brick out of it's container and sliced it with a big knife. That way it was extremely difficult for us to compare - since all the pieces looked the same. We all had square ice cream - no more scooping. -- Amy

Jake said...

It's too bad the ice cream thing was so bad on Dad as that picture is surely one from his own birthday. Poor man.

Charlotte said...


Funny you should mention it--my dad eventually made the same discovery.

I'd be curious to see how many other parents have learned this trick as well.

I know you're not really playing the MMM game, but I'm giving you a point for taking the time to type in the word verification, and two points for the fact that we're both members of the "we-ate-square-ice-cream-when-we-were-kids" club.


I know, huh? Just between me and you (and anyone else reading this)--your gesture and facial expression in this picture are my favorite part of the whole thing.

You want a point for that? Okay--you got it.

(Geesh, I'm handing out whim points without even requiring groveling today. What's wrong with me?)

Carol said...

Are the whim points a symbol of the stress of preparing for MMM Lightning Round? I know it is stressing me out a little. (That darn competitiveness!)

We had a snow day to day (15 inches of slushy, very wet snow that took 2 hours total to shovel from the driveway and sidewalks) and I have used some of the time to prepare. Although, the way the day is shaping up tomorrow, I probably won't have much time! ;-( Oh well, I love snow days so I'll just take it and run!!

Jeri said...

We had SQUARE ice cream too. (point please...)

Charlotte said...

Actually, the going rate for being SQUARE ice-cream eaters is 2 points.

Welcome to the club.

(I suppose I'll also need to award points to Jake, Doug, & Robert, and my mom and dad (the oldies), since they were obviously also members of that club. However, they only get one point. I mean, I can only reward laziness so much!)

Carol--I'll give you two whim points for the competitive drive, and for giving the ultra-competitive Melissa cause to be a little nervous from time to time.

We're less than nine hours away from the lightning round! May the best man/woman win!

Anonymous said...

Nervous would be putting it lightly. Although my playgroup was cancelled this morning due to rain so that gives me a fighting chance at least. :) Although the kids were pretty disappointed.

Charlotte said...

Hey, sometimes kids need to sacrifice. What's more important, the happiness of a child, or bragging rights of MMM. Puleeze. Buck up, Jessi!

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