My son, my oldest child, turned 40 this week. It hardly seems possible since I turned 40 just “the other day .”
It brought back lots of memories of my 40th birthday.
As a teen-ager, I used to make fun of my parents when they’d talk about serious illness, or heaven forbid, even death befalling someone whom they considered to be ”so young.” If they were over 30, that was not young to me. But then again, I was in my teens. Now if someone says they just turned 50, they are young to me. However, I was a member of the generation told to “…Never trust anyone over 30…” It made me very nervous when I turned 30 because I wasn’t sure that meant I couldn’t even trust myself…but never mind.
My 40th birthday The Ex gave me a surprise party and it truly was a surprise. He was extremely clever the way he put it all together. All three of my children were teen-agers at the time and my son, who was a senior, played football in high school. The team traveled not in a yellow school bus, the way most teams did, but in a bus of the kind that you’d find as part of public transportation, it was painted in the school colors and if memory serves me right, had Seton Hall Prep, where he was a student, emblazoned on the side of it.
I was expecting to be going out to dinner with some friends to what was then deemed the newest “hot spot” in New Jersey, the restaurant Pegasus which was above the Meadowlands Race Track in Rutherford. They were tough reservations to get and we’d pulled a coup in being able to secure a table on a Saturday night.
I still remember standing by the front door, growing more anxious with every moment past the allotted time the friends should have arrived to pick us up when out of nowhere what I thought was the team bus came rolling down the street and parked directly in front of our house. The first thought I had was that my son had planned a wild party while we were out and he’d invited all the football players. Of course, that made no sense because the bus was always driven by a member of the faculty and what teacher would be bringing a bus load of teens to an unchaperoned home? Well, at least in 1989? (Now, who knows with what you read in the paper!)
As the doors opened, I realized that there were adults on this bus…and one by one my friends from college and even high school, relatives, my parents, neighborhood friends… all told, about fifty or so of those nearest and dearest to me arrived. There was much laughing and crying as I greeted each of them. The Ex had everyone (even the neighbors) park at a local shopping center and the girls (who were ostensibly dropped off at “sleep-overs” by The Ex earlier in the evening), were there to check them off as they arrived at the designated meeting spot and climbed aboard.
My three young co-conspirators went down into the basement of our house and came up with balloons and trays of food, all of which had been hidden in the depths of our home, in a place I seldom went except to put holiday decorations away. It was a truly a fabulous surprise and obviously one I’ve never forgotten since.
My wonderful daughter-in-law is giving my son a birthday party on Saturday at their home. Several of his best friends, some of whom were at my party, will be there. Even though we are 3,000 miles from where my 40th surprise took place many of the “usual suspects” will be in attendance.
It makes my heart big to be able to celebrate with them…especially now that I think 40 really isn’t old. 100 is.