On January 2 a sacred ritual is preformed in my house. It involves cake and burning wax, brightly decorated gifts and a loud, off-key rendition of an ancient folk song.
It is, of course, Ashleigh’s birthday. I have instructed her to stop aging, alas, her stubbornness persists and every year she informs me that she is now grown-up. And boy does she act it. At a whopping 12, she is fully involved in pre-teeness, from rolling her eyes, to sassing, to (gulp) being independent.
I couldn’t be more proud.
If I thought the tenth birthday was hard, I couldn’t be more wrong. Compared with twelve, ten was lackluster in evoking my melancholy. I thought with ten it would hit me hard, a double-whammy Ashleigh ten, me thirty. Ten wasn’t so bad. Thirty was no big deal. Ten was like a sweet piece of chocolate dripping with caramel and marshmallow.
This year we celebrated quietly. Ashleigh asked if we could go to Dave & Busters (and arcade/restaurant that is full of fun awesomeness where one can easily drop $200+ without realizing it) on Friday night and unfortunately, right after Christmas is not a good time to go as bank accounts are slightly lower than normal. Instead, Ashleigh accepted a dinner at Red Lobster and a Build-A-Bear.
While Red Lobster is a favorite restaurant of hers and well, mine too, as it has the whole seafood thing going on, I’d have liked to have gone to Joe’s Crab Shack or Mango Mango’s but as it was Ashleigh’s choice, to Red Lobster we went. Ashleigh enjoyed a shrimp fest: shrimp scampi, shrimp linguini and fried shrimp. Cyra had children’s popcorn shrimp while I enjoyed scampi and coconut shrimp. Scott just had a huge plate of coconut shrimp.
Following of side splitting dinner, we went to the mall to build a bear at Build-A-Bear. She chose a fluffy light brown bear and promptly (and aptly) named it Velvet.
On Saturday we had a birthday dinner with my mom and my sister. Steak and potatoes. Yum! I gave Ashleigh her actual birthday presents: new bedding. It doesn’t seem like a lot but if we consider that she hasn’t ever had “matching” anything, she was pretty excited about it.
So that concludes another year. 12. A whole dozen. It really doesn’t seem possible that that much time has passed. And from what I hear (and, of course, what I remember) the hardest years are yet to come!