- An exercise party (this wasn't actually for a birthday but my Mom totally went with her weird daughter's request - a trampoline and jazzercise were on the agenda).
- A sleepover - homemade personalized PJs for all of the girls, makeup, beauty masks, nail painting, sundaes that we got to decorate on our own. When we woke up the next morning my Dad had brought each of us a jumbo pack of peanut butter M&Ms - heaven on earth.
- A games party - I think I was about four of five. My Mom set up the lollipop ring toss, the fishing game, the tube crawl and I think we may have decorated our own cupcakes.
- A kidnapping party - we told only my friends' parents that we would be kidnapping their kids and on my birthday at 9am we drove around the neighborhood waking up my friends. Then we kidnapped them in their PJs and took them out to an American pancake breakfast at Ihop (International House of Pancakes).
- A skating rink party - I can't remember if this was for me or for my brother/sister but in any case lots of roller skating, pizza and cake.
- A party on the farm - this was definitely for my sister and brother. My mom invited all of their friends to a farm and had a miniature ho-down for the young'uns. I remember my sister in a little checked red shirt and jeans with her bowl cut - crabby in the heat of the afternoon.
- A dance party - my sister was probably turning six and my mom recruited me and my friend J to lead my sister and all of her friends in a dance class in the back yard. All the little girls came in tights and leotards and my friend and I were the jazz teachers. Definitely cupcake decoration involved.
Looking back I'm super impressed with my Mom and appreciative of her hard work- how many kids can say that they've had all that? (Plus she was a working mom and all of our birthdays fell within a three week period!) Talk about wanting to shoot yourself in the head! And just as an aside, my family was not rich, but we always had enough. I know that these parties were a hardship for our family, but my Mom wouldn't not have done it for us.
As an adult I have found that I don't handle my birthday well (funnily enough, neither does my Mom!) and after a few years of analyzing, I think I know why: no one can live up to my Mom. Poor Copain, he sure does try, but look what I've been trained to expect from a birthday!
This year I woke up and Copain gave me a card from my brother and sister in law. Then I opened a gift that had come in the mail about a week ago - a beautiful necklace that I had been eyeing on Etsy - from my mom. Once out of bed, he handed me a hand-decorated envelope (very cute) with a plan for the day:
Coffee with french pastries for breakfast
A bike ride along the Coulée Verte in Paris (a long stretch of green spaces and parks) - on a Velib' - I was now the proud owner of a Velib' year pass that Copain signed me up for as a surprise!
A picnic lunch while we were on the ride
Dinner out in Paris
(Also, a gift certificate for a new pair of sunglasses when I find the ones I like)
Sounds good right?
The good part of my birthday: coffee and a chocolatine
Well, yes, that would have been the case had Copain followed La Coulée Verte path and had we not instead found ourselves in Meudon going up and down hills on the world's heaviest bikes ever. By hill number five I lost my temper, got off the bike, legs burning, brow sweating and pushed the Velib de Merde up the hill. Copain, feeling upset that I was being bratty about his birthday gift, told me that next year we would eat hamburgers at McDonalds and watch TV like Americans.
Then we ate a cookie in the Meudon forest.
Then we followed the directions given by an idiot to get out the forest and ended up on another never-ending hill.
Then we yelled again.
Then Copain told me to follow him (which I stupidly did) and we ended up in a construction zone in Chatillon where they are building a new tramway. At this point there was lots of biking on the sidewalks and ringing our bells at pedestrians.
Finally we made it down to the Cité Universitaire area where I promptly requested that we stop for a beer to at least make up for the past five hours of Velib torture in what will now be referred to as my own personal Tour de France - or at least the world's worst case of Swamp Ass.
When we finally got home I took a shower, put on my bath robe, sat on the couch and fell promptly asleep. Moving off of the couch was out of the question, so dinner included pizza and a salad - on the couch. Copain threw in some Magnum ice creams upon my request so that it felt a little more birthday-esque.
Then I went to bed. Annoyed. Happy Birthday to me and my tired, bruised, swamp ass.