DH, half-asleep: “Who’s calling this early?” Me, also half-asleep: “I dunno. I’ll get it…. Hello?”
- “Say tenkyoo.”
- “Say tenkyoo.”
- “Um, ok, thank you. But why?
- “It’s yo bus-day. You know, i’m da one did all da wuk bringing you into dis wuld, so you should be tenking me dis day ebery year.” (Well, ok then.)
- “Thanks, Mom. Thanks for my birth-day.”
- “You welcome. Happy bus-day, Eh-nee-tah!!” (Really, who wouldn’t love this mad woman I call Mom?)
My birthday doesn’t start this way “ebery” year but still, ebery so often.
This year, however, I wasn’t home to answer that call. Know why? I was in Vegas. VEGAS, baby. And yes, for many of you, one little weekend escape to Vegas is no big deal or perhaps not even appealing. But for this masochistically busy mama of 3, it was a first (and probably last)-in-a-lifetime experience to do Vegas right — i.e., all girlfriends, no kids, a no-need-to-be-family-friendly hotel, uninterrupted adult conversations, peaceful dips in the pool, leisurely paced luxury shopping/browsing, elegant dinners, and dancing!
Owing to my very mild and casual preoccupation with this getaway, a couple “Save the Date” emails were sent out months in advance, multiple text chains about logistics were circulated, and carpools and pre-made family meals to appease and assist my soon-to-be deserted husband and kids were arranged. Finally, it was time to go celebrate getting old(er) with thirteen spunky church friends. Yup, church friends. They’re fun times. No joke.
But as luck (or my lunacy) would have it, all that anticipation of this legendary ladies’ weekend away culminated in an anticlimactic flash of last-minute jitters. Having meticulously packed my weekend wardrobe until 1:30 in the morning, I still woke earlier than needed for my 7:00 a.m. Uber pick-up. Suddenly, thoughts of tragic news stories about newlywed couples dying in plane crashes en route to their honeymoons, or a soldier who’d just returned from a long, perilous war-time deployment only to get killed in a car crash, robbery or other senseless tragedy, and bizarre, untimely misfortunes of the like came flooding through my head. Oh no…what if…what if…I’m part of tomorrow’s news — “737 Plummets, Killing 137 (Including Overexcited Mom of 3 Going to Vegas Without Kids for the FIRST TIME in FOREVER to Celebrate her 40th BIRTHDAY)”?! So at 4:53 a.m., I found myself sitting on DH’s not-so-secret hideout (aka the toilet), tearing up and penning sentimental love letters to him and the kids just in case anything goes awry. Each was sealed and left on the kitchen table.
Alas, Vegas was…awesome. The weekend’s highlights (of which I may speak) included many “dietary indulgences” (STK, Jean-Philippe Patisserie, Lemongrass, Julian Serrano); two nights in a row (a first!) of dancing (clubs HAZE & Tryst); some rest for the weary (late night foot bath, solitary morning jacuzzi, afternoon nap, poolside lounge), the most stunning and delectable chocolate praline birthday cake (with hazelnut cookie crisps hidden in a Nutella mousse filling), comped table and drinks at Tryst, a seafood feast for our last lunch, and to top it all off, a special pair of birthday shoes gifted by the group.
Vegas alone might’ve sufficed for me to “go” happily should that 737 have plummeted on the return flight. But the weekends surrounding Vegas warmed my heart with cozy and comforting celebratory dinners with my dearest in-laws, parents and best-loved cousins.
Then followed the most charming and merriest of birthday dinners with my beautiful, diverse and talented school mamamigas at the enchanting RivaBella in West Hollywood. A night to remember — champagne for the table anonymously gifted by a mysterious patron (whom I’ll imagine to be James McAvoy, Zach Levi or Chris Hemsworth, just because), marginally indelicate jokes, unrestrained laughter, too much food and cake, dessert lit in fireworks, and after-dinner dancing at a hot WeHo gay club. (Why not? The music is good, fit men are dancing everywhere, and none will pay any attention to us moms (no harm, no foul), so we can be as silly and carefree as we’d like.)
By the time my birthday dinner with my college girlfriends came around, I felt sheepish and guilty asking DH to stay home with the kids yet again. “Are you going to celebrate your 40th all year long?” inquired mellow, introverted, ISTJ, home-body DH. “No, of course not,” replied ENFJ I, who was actually thinking, “Yes, of course I am. I just turned 40. Something good’s gotta come of it!”
Truth is, like most who are asked on a milestone birthday how they feel now that they’re ___, I feel exactly the same as I did the year, or even the decade, before. The number just sounds…weird. I don’t feel that number. I feel 28…or maybe 30…or 32. Then again, the morning after my return from Vegas, I groaned to DH, “I partied like I was 25 all weekend. This morning I feel Iike I’m 80.” He snickered. And the rest of the week, I went to bed no later than 9:00 p.m. Hmmm, maybe that’s what turning 40 means.
Finally, the clock struck 12. And Cinderella went back to looking and feeling like THIS:
I’m gonna NEED the next 10 years to prepare myself for turning 50. Who’s with me?? Anyone who can hang better than I can is welcome.