No, actually, I say it’s my birthday. I am no longer the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything; now I’m just the nondescript number 43.
The schools were on a delay today, so I got to sleep late; I was awakened at 8:45 by my husband and kids bringing me breakfast in bed. My 11-year-old son makes a killer cheese-and-bacon omelet, let me tell you. It was a very lovely way to start the day. 🙂
My mom got me a marvelous book: a collection of cartoons by one of my favorite artists from The New Yorker: Roz Chast. Much of my birthday evening will be spent in front of the fireplace enjoying her strange and hysterical takes on the world.
But probably the best laugh of the day came when I finally got out to my computer this morning and found a card my son had made and propped against the monitor. It has lively drawings of cake, candles, and balloons, and inside, features the following poem (with his emphasis and spelling):
Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
Sugar is Sweet,
And your past 42!
Who could ask for anything more?
One of the definite benefits of loving to cook and always having a houseful of ingredients is that when my daughter’s best friend comes to visit, and I find out that tomorrow is her 16th birthday, I can immediately bake her a from-scratch chocolate cake with fudge frosting. (The cake recipe is here. The fudge frosting is just what it sounds like: chocolate fudge, poured between the layers and over the cake before it has a chance to set. Mmmm.) My son helped me decorate the cake with the friend’s name and “Happy Birthday” candles; then we carried the cake next door to my mom’s house and ate it while it was still warm (mmmmmm!).
Today my daughter is 15. It is difficult for me to, um, conceive of the fact that it’s been 15 years since I was in labor for the first time. She took about 22 hours to make her entrance into the world, and by the time she arrived I was exhausted and starving. After a nap and a double cheeseburger and onion rings from Burger King, I was reenergized and ready to face parenthood. Now she’s nearly grown — beautiful and smart and everything I could ask for in a daughter. Where did a decade and a half go?
On Sunday, my daughter turns 15. Tomorrow she’s bringing home five friends to hang out and spend the night. Of the five, two are vegetarian and one is vegan. We don’t eat much meat, but I do cook with a lot of butter, milk, and cheese; so although the vegetarian aspect isn’t difficult, it’s been a little tough for me to plan vegan-friendly foods. However, my daughter and I together have worked out the menu, and I think everyone will be happy.
In Spaceballs, Mel Brooks' spoof of Star Wars, one scene finds the vain and arrogant Princess Vespa running for her life from enemy soldiers. As she approaches the safety of Lone Starr's flying Winnebago, a laser blast zips past her ear. She spins around, hand to her head, eyes flashing, and exclaims, "My hair! He shot my hair! Son of a bitch…" Seizing the nearest weapon, she proceeds to mow down the opposing forces with a ferocity that Barf (Lone Starr's sidekick) admits is "Not bad—for a girl."
This scene came instantly to mind today as I prowled the dark corridors of the laser-tag maze at Renaissance Fun Park, and the first laser shot hit me. "You've been hit!" a robotic voice said. And I was ticked.
I've never played laser tag before—only watched. But in honor of my son's 11th birthday, I took to the smoky arena, phaser in hand, using the alias Catwoman. I started out a little uncertain, sticking close to my daughter's side; but once I'd been hit by some stranger's laser shot, I was armed and dangerous. Aim, shoot, duck, run, spin, hide… I had a great time.
Hey, can we go again soon?
As of today, and for the next year, I am officially The Answer to life, the universe, and everything. I’ve suggested to my children that they can begin calling me “The Answer” immediately. Or, if they prefer, they can go with “She Who Must Be Obeyed.”