The best birthday gifts when you’re 30

I didn’t really have a formal birthday celebration this year. Part of the reason for this was that the dark cloud of November bled into the first part of December. Harrison’s grandmother passed away the day after he came back from visiting her, which was less than a week before my birthday. Harrison had to leave again pretty quickly for the funeral.

While he was gone, I did enjoy dinner and drinks with a few friends, I watched my sister try on wedding dresses (weird), and I took my sister to see Tig Notaro. Harrison bought the tickets as a birthday gift.

Harrison came back early the morning of my birthday. Of course he came ready to make the day all about me. He picked up breakfast on his way home, and he had more gifts he had been waiting to give me.

We spent the day doing the things we love together like Yin Yoga and artisan coffee. Spending a whole day together is something we don’t get to do much lately.

We saw a movie and had dinner with my parents. It was during our dinner conversation that I realized how much I have to be grateful for at 30. I have grandparents who are only in their 70s and are still in relatively good health. Harrison just lost his last grandparent at 27. I am very lucky. I have parents who are healthy and would have my back if I really needed them.

These are the best gifts as we all move deeper into this shit show we know as adulthood- things we’ve always taken for granted. Maybe it was the lack of any formal celebration that helped me to see with more clarity that the best gift is time spent or the ability to still spend time with those we care about.

Addendum:

I have no idea if I’m using “Addendum” correctly, by the way.

I went to the doctor the day after my birthday. I already had the day off, and I needed to renew my birth control prescription. This is VERY important. I went in preparing myself to be violated with a metal or plastic tool resembling a duck’s beak, but then my doctor said, “I looked at your results from last year, and it was normal, so we don’t need to do a pap this year unless you want to.”

Serious question- Who would respond to this with, “Yes, please. I would very much like you to fondle my lady-bits for medical purposes?” NO ONE WOULD!

I sent Harrison a text when I left thanking him for not giving me HPV… although it’s more surprising that I didn’t get it from one of the idiots who preceded him.

My doctor did want to do a breast exam. Fine. Necessary. Important. While, she was feeling around my boobies, she also had her head cocked to the side to read the tattoo on my rib cage. I love that tattoo, so I was happy to discuss it…while lying on my back…arm overhead…her hand to my tits. I can’t decide if it would have been more weird if we had been silent.

She also wanted to do blood work and look at all my “levels.” A couple days later, I got a phone call that went like this:

Medical Assistant: Hi, I’m calling from Dr. Leopold’s office. I have your results if you have a sec.

Me: Ok.

MA: So she wanted to do a full panel and check your liver, kidney function, cholesterol… all of that.

Me: Ok.

MA: Everything’s normal.

Me: That it?

MA: Yep.

Me: Ok. Thank you.

It was a lot of build-up for normal. On that note, I will say that I am incredibly grateful for my health.

Bring it on 3rd decade.

I’ve been busy; now I’m back. Let’s talk about it.

You guys! I have a sister-in-law! WEIRD! My brother got married last weekend, and I totally thought he was still like 12.

This was a very odd trip, and I was not sure how exactly to sum it up here without boring everyone to death. Here are some more amusing realizations I had. Okay, maybe they won’t all be amusing, but they’ll be something.

1)      If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably read my tweets about how I sweat profusely in yoga class while everyone else seems to be sweating a less and more reasonable amount. I know now that I have my grandmother to thank for this annoying and smelly trait. My brother got married on a mountain, and we had to walk up a hill to get to the ceremony location. My grandmother had some sizable beads of sweat on the nape of her neck when we arrived at the top, and I thought, “There we have it, folks.” Can’t argue with genetics, unfortunately.

2)      I think my parents might be high all time at this point. I’m obviously kidding, but I don’t know what the hell happened to them. They’re the cool parents all of a sudden. The people who wouldn’t even allow me to have an adult beverage at dinner on my 21st birthday are amused by the drunk antics of my youngest brother’s underage girlfriend. Oh, and I drank whiskey with my stepmom while Harrison was taking drinks to my stressed-out dad. What the hell, parents?

3)      My sister and her fiancé drink a disgusting amount of Red Bull. Watching people drink something that looks like antifreeze and may have some of the same ingredients makes me sad for their insides.

4)       I almost never wear proper footwear for my environment.

5)      Wyoming lacks common-sense. Liquor and Fireworks are not a good thing to sell in the same place. I’m not sure how one would come to the conclusion that those two things should be sold in a store together.

I think it goes without saying that when you put a family with a considerable amount of baggage in a situation where they are forced to be in close proximity, issues are bound to come to the surface. Of course, my biological mother, who I wrote about in a previous post, was there for the festivities. She was instructed by several people to not speak to me or to Harrison. To be honest, I was surprised by this. I’m more surprised that she actually complied, but I didn’t ask anyone to do that. I’m sure that they simply wanted to ensure a drama-free weekend. I mean, of course there was drama- it’s a wedding. She was involved (it’s her thing), but I was not, thank you very much.

In being around her for the for the first time in over 6 years, I definitely felt reaffirmed in the decision I made to remove myself from that situation and in how I feel about what family means. That doesn’t mean that it’s an easy thing for some people to understand. Harrison had a hard time seeing my sister and youngest brother obviously stuck in the middle and being pulled between the stability of my dad and stepmom and the feeling of being obligated to stifle any chaos before it happens on the other side. And this makes me wonder if despite the initial challenges of removing a family member from my life, did I take the easy way out and leave them hanging out to dry? Did I abandon them for a kind of stability they might never know?

Things are going to get a lot more challenging than they have been. My sister is getting married next year, and her attitude is that she is her mother. She should be a part of the planning and a part of the day. I was asked to be in the wedding, so I’m going to have to figure out how to navigate this new terrain while sticking to the path that I know to be right for me. It’s not my wedding, so it’s not about what I want. This won’t be the last time I have to navigate this. I’ll find the way. I don’t have a choice.

At the end of it all, last weekend was about my brother and his new wife. I’m so excited to have a sister-in-law and a new extended family-by-marriage who are pretty fucking rad. It’s still weird that my little brother is married.