Sitting in the family living room watching T.V. at the age of thirteen, I can recall my mother and her best friend Karen sitting at the table, having coffee and talking. They would laugh and talk about the people they knew, talk about their past and about funny events that had happened in their lives. I used to think to myself, “Wow, I could never see myself being that age—seems so boring.” My mother was forty-five years old at that time, and her best friend was thirty years old. Even at the age of thirty, I thought this lady was older than the hills. The fact that her hair turned gray at the age of twenty-five may have influenced my thoughts somewhat. Nevertheless, I still couldn’t fathom the thought of being her age, sitting with my best friend, talking over coffee. They would sit there for hours talking; I just couldn’t understand it.
I remember my sixteenth birthday. February 4th, 1990, I was so excited because I knew for sure there was some sort of surprise for me, possibly a party that was being held a secret. Those thoughts quickly vanished with the horrible snow and ice storm that came my way. I knew even if there was a party to be held, it would have been canceled due to the mountain I lived on. Our driveway was a complete cyclone in the winter. As I watched the snow fall rapidly, then eventually turning into ice, tears started flowing because it was now approaching 8pm. Isn’t your sweet sixteen supposed to be a huge bash? It wasn’t for me that day. My mother came in my room, gave me a card from her and dad, (usually dad never even saw the card—his name was always forged) but it promised me a dinner at Mt. Fuji, my favorite restaurant for sushi for later that week. Today I would have appreciated that offer more than any present, but back then, I wanted my friends to be there celebrating my birthday with me. That evening, I sat in my room as the snow fell, crying selfishly. I had my own sixteenth pity party.
It was February 3rd, 1995 on a Friday evening. At 12 midnight, I would turn twenty-one years old. It was one year that Madelene and I have been dating. I always used a fake id to get into one of my favorite clubs nearby. They finally put a stop to it when I turned twenty, and I always tried to sneak in; sometimes succeeded, sometimes not. As I walked up to the bouncer who knew my face so well, I showed him something he has never seen before. My *real* driver’s license, not my sister’s old expired one that I always pulled out. He looked at it carefully. He looked at me, and then looked back down at the license.
“You gotta be kidding! You’re going to be legal in about one hour! Guess what time I’ll let you in?” He said as he smiled at me knowing he couldn’t let me in just yet.
I waited. This was important to me. I needed to be there on my birthday. All my friends were older than me, and were all having a good time inside. I sat outside the club near the railings for one hour hanging out with my friends and talking with Madelene. 11:59pm rolled around, and my face was back at the door. I was officially in--- legally! This was a special mark in my life. We quickly headed off to the bar area to replenish our fading buzz that we had before we got there. I remember even my friends that I went to school with were there, coincidentally even two of my ex-boyfriends who I dated back in high school were celebrating with us. They all bought me drinks, and when the big Budweiser clock on the wall behind the bartender showed “12:00”, we all did Tequila shots at the same time. I was a happy girl that evening. I was one ossified girl that night!
I still couldn’t comprehend the fact that now I was in my twenties. I always imagined if I had the choice to be any age forever, it would definitely be twenty-five. How perfect?--You’re still ‘young’, yet an adult; young enough to still make stupid choices, but old enough to be taken seriously. In those years, Madelene and I set up a little place of our own; we got a condo in a nearby town. We had our own place! This was a huge step for me. I was scared, excited, and sad at the same time; sad to leave the nest, and excited about starting my life as an adult; as Madelene’s partner. Our first year of living together was a rough start, but we had a lot of fun for the most part. It was quite the learning experience. She was well into her thirties, and for me, that was still a scary thought, to just turn thirty.
February 4th, 2004, was my thirtieth birthday. How I tried so hard to drag twenty-nine out, but it left me quicker than I knew. I was my mother’s best friend’s age. The age I thought where all humans reach that plateau of the eternal land of Boringville. The night before, my best friend Lisa said she was going to take me out for my birthday, along with another good friend Kim, to my favorite restaurant to celebrate. As I was talking to Lisa on the phone, she sounded a bit occupied.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Oh you are never going to guess in a million years, so don’t even try to figure it out Deb.” She said in this suspicious tone as she chuckled her way out of it.
The next day, on my birthday, Lisa and Kim came over at 7pm. Madelene and I were all ready and looking forward to this evening. As I opened the door, Lisa and Kim gave me a kiss and a hug, and proceeded to go inside my living room. They had a big bag along with them. I had to open it before we went out they said. The first couple of presents were bottles of good wines and candles, which they knew I loved & appreciated. Then they presented me with ‘thee’ gift.
Homemade chocolate…….ready?.........Homemade chocolate breasts! Yes, somehow, they managed to get their paws on a mold that conformed the chocolate to breasts. Lovely. How does one eat this treat? It would hurt to even think about biting into it. We laughed hysterically and took some pictures of my prize. (The picture is a bit fuzzy--I apologize for that--but you can kind of make out the chocolate tatas...)
We all headed in the car and drove off to my favorite restaurant. Surprisingly enough, my other close friend Tamar stopped in—even canceled her important meeting so she can be with me on my special day. I was so happy; all my close friends with me in one place. It was more than what I could even ask for. That evening, I knew that my thirties were going to be full of wonderful days ahead. It was the best birthday I ever had.
I guess sometimes we emphasize a lot on age. We fear our twenties, to only fear our thirties, and then to eventually fear our forties. Come to think of it, I think I’m even going to enjoy my forties even moreso. I want to be that person who turns seventy years old, holding my favorite cocktail at a fine country club, enjoying friends, family and good food. Never let age make you old. Age is but a number, and we should enjoy life no matter how many years pass by---and believe me, they pass by quickly.