Now, take a deep breath, and help me blow out all these candles.
38....is great. And I will be blowing out 38 candles this Sunday.
Deep in the matriarchal DNA of my family resides the long linear polymer for I LOVE BIRTHDAYS. Of course, I already pontificated on this subject and told you about Sangria Cha Cha Cha which will be served to the rim this weekend at a bit of a bash in my honor. Since I can't pour you a glass from here (oh, I would if I could honey) if you want to partake, here is the recipe .
I want all of you to join me for a cocktail as I reflect on a very full and fun life.
In this retrospect, I thought of sage advice and prolific words of wisdom I might share if I had the chance to write a letter to JennyMac at say, age 8. Like to hear it? Here it go....
Dear 8 year old JennyMac:
Happy early birthday. You turn 9 in just a few days. You LOVE parties and always will so enjoy your day.
You little girl, are brave, trusting, and good. Smart as a whip and certainly not afraid to clarify that for others who do not seem to grasp it. You are also sassy and have quite a mouth on you. A natural proclivity toward sarcasm is typically not developed so young. Use it wisely. And by wisely, I mean, don't use it on your teachers. As more specifically, don't call Mr. M an "arsehole" to his face. He is your Leadership teacher. This is not good leadership. And you are a kid. Not nice. Oh, and you certainly get in trouble at home so side-step that temptation.
Charm is of utmost importance and the sooner you employ it, the better. It is NOT charming to tell your mom, whilst she is spanking you, that you "can't feel a thing." Wise up. This will induce more spanking. Don't be smug.
You love sports and are quite good. You will love soccer, skiing, tennis, and volleyball for life. Give up piano lessons. Early. Your older brother has the musical talent of ten people. There is none left for you.
Oh, you are a tiny thing. Guess what, you will not grow and look like a real girl until 7th grade. Because of this, when you decide in 5th grade to cut off all your long hair for a Dorothy Hamill hair cut, I will be the first to tell you DON'T DO THIS. People will ask your parents about their "son" on more than one occasion. You will not like it. Pay attention to my words and don't cut your hair, or at least find someone who doesn't cut it like you are about to join the Army.
Your Father tells you at a young age you better find a career that pays you to run your mouth the way you do. You pick Lawyer. From the age of five you aspire to be two things: a Solid Gold Dancer or an attorney. Solid Gold goes off the air but watch it and learn all their skills. Law school is the answer. Although in any given opportunity, you will emulate the deft moves of a Solid Gold Dancer
And don't tell lies. Like when you borrowed your Mom's bronzer, turned your face orange because you used too much, got it ALL over the impeccable white counters and floor, and then when questioned, you feigned bewilderment and innocence. Well sugar, the writing is all over your tangerine skin. Lucky for you, you learn quickly and just take your licks.
You will get tall, but you will be a size zero until about 13. Don't fret. You will never be a size zero again. And your boobs don't actually feel like participating in the "growth" process so they wait. For about 2 or 3 years. And when they come, its a weak showing. You twist and turn on this. Worry not. Why? Magic words: padded push-up. Plus, Victoria's Secret will solve this problem for you later in life with the first Miracle Bra. Even better ones come. Oh, and the braless, flat girls abound after the 90's.
Skip school a few days in November of 1984. You are only in 7th grade so just hold the thermometer near the light bulb for a few seconds. During November of this year "pants-ing" people becomes all the rage amongst the boys at school. You are not developed yet. You will get pants-ed. You will be called Peach Fuzz. You will react in a way the fuels fire. Not wise. You will need to work on this. Try laughing and telling them you lead the frontier for the Brazilian wax. Instead you will cry. Peach Fuzz sticks with you for about a year. You will laugh about this only DECADES later. Do yourself a favor, and just feign sickness. When you finally do get boobs, these same boys will not be singing Peach Fuzz.
You are going to have a great life. You are so lucky, and so loved. You adore clothes from a wee age when you refused to wear panties and socks that don't match. Nordstrom was the first word you could spell. You will make some wildy poor outfit choices in the 80's but everyone does.
You will wear a velour mid-length snap front bathrobe to school and because it is fabulous and purple, you will tell people it is a coat. Ummmm, one day you and TazBud will get in a fight and she will out you. Save it for the shower, sweetie.
Also, you will put blond hair color on one side of your hair. Right at the roots. Let's not. It will turn your hair orange and you will be stuck growing this out for over one year. This will be in ALL of your cheerleading pics. Your mom will hang these in the living room for ALL to see. If you don't take my advice, enjoy getting hazed. For years.
Oh, and stay out of Mom's jewelry box. Especially without permission. Yes, you like the jewels but you take her black pearls without express consent and then wear them in your class pictures. Ummm. Really? You have them ON in the picture. What more proof does she need? Perhaps you should have got your tiny arse beat because you will also one day take a ring of hers without asking and lose the stone. Turns out her father gave her the ring as a graduation gift. This will break your mom's heart and you will not know that for years to come. And you can NEVER replace something of such sentimental value. Just be respectful and ask first.
But older brother's room is a free for all. He has sh*t hidden everywhere: love notes, Copenhagen, contraband cigs, a one-hitter. You will have such great ammo against him. Start looking now.
You have some of the greatest friends of your life growing up. You will still be friends with many of them to this day.
Oh, your high school boyfriend was actually not the one who informed your Mom about who bought you alcohol in order to gain her good graces. You and all of your friends have big fun calling him Eddie Haskell for about the next decade but he is innocent. She is reading your journals. But, you are so clever that you often write your shenanigans in code. Brilliant move. She doesn't know HALF of what you are up to.
And believe me, you and your gal pals are innocent little lambs compared to teens today.
Oh, but when you get asked by one coach if you were drinking during a high school party thereby violating Athletic Code, DENY DENY DENY. She is a cow and will mishandle it. You and your two close friends will be suspended from the team (only for a bit though). Instead, smile at her as say " I would never." And wine coolers shouldn't really qualify as "drinking."
Oh, and when you pitch a full throttle fit when you are forced to watch 90210 because it's your little brother's birthday and he gets to pick, the least you could do is later admit to him you became obsessed with the show and watched it religiously.
While you think it is AMAZING that your first college boyfriend helps you make a beer bong (with a shut off valve...genius) it is HIGHLY UNWISE to bring this home on your first college break to show all of your friends also home on break. Breath-takingly more foolish is that you actually show your Step-Dad. Ummm, they are paying for education not beer-induced sex fest. DO NOT SHOW YOUR PARENTS A BEER BONG. Especially YOUR beer bong with YOUR nickname on it. And then you tell SD who helped you craft it. When that boy comes to visit, your SD calls him a troll. To his face. Your SD does NOT want to think about a boy funneling beer in your mouth at the speed of light for obvious reasons.
And being in a sorority is a great idea. You will love it. Although, those girls can drink. Wine coolers have not prepared you. Oh, and watch those 3 am calzones. Yes, I know you are hungry. Try eating during the day time. You will spend an entire summer working that off your arse.
And "credit card" is not magical slang for "free money" or "something somehow unattached to actual debt". When you Father tells you to pay attention to your credit, that's not French for "MAD SPENDING SPREE". You are smarter than this. Stop acting like you forgot all mathematical and economic concepts because its your first credit card.
Your first really serious college boyfriend is going to break your tiny heart. And he is cheating on you, sweetpea. Don't change a thing, because you learn more from this particular relationship than you can imagine. Its determinism, and it will change you 100% for the better. Pack your tissues though ladybug, its going to be a tough one.
You follow him across the country because you are so wise and grown up. The positive to this is, it is the best mistake you have ever made for the wrong reasons. PS: When your parents are paying for everything, they do, in fact, get a vote.
You will LOVE the University. Thankfully, you will actually like the "school" piece of it too. And you learn quickly skipping class is not wise. You will learn this the day your Western Civ mid term is rescheduled and you were not in class to hear this. Or the next session when they remind people. Oh, you are one smooth talker and overcome this dilemma but just go to class in the first place.
You will come out of your college experience a different and better person (and you think you are pretty fly at the time, trust me). And you will date stellar men from that point on.
Law school is a wise choice. It will benefit you indefinitely. You will have a hemorrhage over your first law school writing grade. That's what you get for being a smarty pants and not studying. Don't be a jackarse. Everyone here is smart. Oh, but you ace the Wills and Trusts exam that you almost have breakdown over fear of failing. Stop carrying on at your apartment on the phone to Mom. You miss your flight and have one hell of a time waiting at the airport for hours because it is winter and there are all kinds of weather issues. Oh, but you do meet a cute boy so all is not lost. And he likes to buy cocktails but easy does it. Don't get off the plane shatfaced to meet your family.
And going to the Grenada every Thursday night for "80's Night & Dollar Pitchers" when you are supposed to be studying Tort Law is a good idea. You will remember those nights much, much longer than you will remember Palsgraf v. Long Island Rail Road.
And when you graduate, you will have achieved your first life goal. And you will meet some of the best friends you will ever hope to have during this time. Well done.
You will have a great career free of blemish. Don't go to work for Big K though. You will get in an argument with him over open toe shoes at the office. In 2001. He is a clown. And you don't work in a manufacturing plant. His wife actually refers to him as "fat bastard". Just decline that offer. And save yourself a headache of trying to educate someone that you don't need to wear clogs and bonnets.
You will paint the town. You will fraternize. And you make good decisions. It is BIG fun.
But that guy that says you "suck" because you don't like his friend, and you answer "hardly" and laugh in his face, that's just fine. But then he calls your friend a " ____stupid____" because she won't give him her number. You debate throwing your drink in his face for saying that even though that seems, well, a bit of an over-reaction. Well, THROW IT HONEY. He is begging to be b*tch-slapped via vodka tonic. Believe it. And then you and your friend can reminisce about how good it felt to do it.
At your wedding shower, your favorite and beloved Aunt will say "you sure kissed a lot of frogs before finding your prince." But, you will LOVE kissing these frogs. Kiss away.
And you marry someone strong, and smart, and loving. Having a baby will change both of your lives. And when you are raising a son, you will realize the importance of teaching leadership and being a good parent. And you realize how hard it is sometimes and you regret, oh, about 1,000 things you did/said to your parents.
Oh, and then you will remember that one time you went to your BFF's nieces first bday, and all the kids at one point seemed to be screaming. And you said, "For the love of God, I need a drink. How can you bear the racket." And your BFF, MarciaGarcia, says, "Oh, eventually you just drowned it out." And you say, with what for !&%# sake, a hammer? You will finally know what she means.
And the first time your tiny child says "I love you" without you saying it first, you will melt.
And you will achieve another life goal of writing a book, don't be discouraged that after a few agents give you the nod the only real creatures interested are the spiders crawling on the dusty manuscript in the garage, well, we don' t know what's to come of that yet. You just wrote it a year ago. BUT, you want to start blogging three years before you do. Do it sooner. There is an INCREDIBLY witty, fun, sassy, and smart group of people you will meet in BloggyWorld, doing the same thing, and you will become addicted. Soar baby, soar.
Happy Birthday, and yes, you can have your cake and eat it too.
Love, JennyMac at age 38