I refuse to steal the HAPPY out of HAPPY BIRTHDAY

images-69

I don’t remember all of my birthdays, but 19 was especially memorable. My friend, Dave, took me out for dinner. It was our favorite Chinese restaurant and I’m sure there was a Scorpion Bowl or Mai Tais or something else really sweet and really strong. We stuffed ourselves with beef and broccoli, and then Dave insisted on ordering dessert. Who does that at a Chinese restaurant? Fried ice cream or something odd and I could hardly fit in a bite. Besides, I was anxious to get back to the apartment. It was my birthday and I wanted to grab our friends and go out.

I felt like Dave was going in slow motion as we made our way back to the Woodrow (think rundown/gritty/college three-story apartment building in Baltimore). I was so focused on how lame he was being that I didn’t considered WHY he was moving so slowly until we walked through the door.

“Surprise!!!!”

I’ve never been so shocked. Somehow, without me having even a clue, my mother had contacted my best friend, Enger, and sent her some cash to plan something nice for my birthday (remember this was years before cell phones). I’m guessing that my mother had envisioned sparkling wine and canapés, but instead there were pizza boxes and a keg of beer. It was one of the funnest nights of my life. Rowdy, loud, and silly. 19.

1917457_183486030142_7364570_n-2

JackO is turning 19 on Saturday.

Each milestone that we reach comes with a little reminder of what coulda/shoulda been and I hate that. I hate that there is any hesitation on focusing on the happy part of happy birthday. I hate that I spend even a second wondering if I would have sent money to Jack’s college friends to buy some booze and party favors (probably not – 2017 is not 1988 – I’d probably end up in jail for contributing to the delinquency of minors). I hate that I wonder where Jack would have gone off to college. I hate that I use any ounce of energy cursing ALD — AGAIN.

But I do. I can’t help it.

When I started writing this, it was for me to post on Jack’s birthday, but I’m not going to wait until Saturday. It’s not fair to Jack. It’s not fair to his birthday. His birthday is for celebrating. He deserves it. He is the happiest person I know and NOONE likes a celebration more than our boy;)

IMG_3420

So — enough of the coulda/shoulda. We are going to celebrate all weekend. Heading to the beach with some of our closest friends. We’re going to eat pizza and cake and maybe even find ourselves a Mai Tai!!!!! Then, on Monday we will celebrate again with his pals at school. And, when we head to Block Island later in the month — we will have more cake and do more singing.

I will send some photos of all the fun on his actual birthday. In the meantime – send Jack a note. On Facebook or right here. Scroll down. See “Leave a reply”? Go for it!

Love, JackO’s mom

PS Once I have written down my feelings, I feel much better. No need for weepy phone calls or awkward hugs if you see me. I promise I’m now focusing on WackO JackO and his big, fun day/week/month.

PPS I wrote this last night and, as I was falling asleep, it occurred to me that I might have actually been remembering my 20th birthday. Enger? Dave? Betsey? Deb? Anyone?

 

 

jack knows how to party;-)

DSC00407It’s been a long week. Saying good-bye to Bananz and then trying to get ready for a month away on Block Island — okay, I realize that this doesn’t sound like a particularly awful week. It’s just been a little cluttered and frantic. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed.

When I remembered that I needed to plan a birthday celebration for Jack before we headed out of town, I was less than eager to add to my stack of to dos. Luckily, Horizon High School (HHS) is a place that appreciates a good party as much as our son does. “Planning” a party at HHS simply requires a few texts with Monica (Jack’s aide/ AKA his school mom) and a phone call with his teacher, Mr. David. Add some pizza and a cake from Maria AND YOU HAVE A PARTY!

DSC00437

With One Direction playing, Jack danced his way around the classroom passing out hugs as party favors. You’ve never seen a teenage boy as happy at Jack. Every time I walk into his school I feel so lucky that our family is part of their community.

DSC00421

Jack’s school mom, Monica. We love her.

DSC00428

Maria and her beautiful daughter. Maria doesn’t just make delicious cakes, she’s the reason I’m sane.

For an hour, I got to forget about all the things I need to get done before the ferry takes us to our August home. Now it’s time to go back to the shopping, packing, re-packing, bill paying, cleaning up, etc.

Love, Jess