My birthday reminded me of a pasta commercial. You know-Mom goes to market, cooks in the kitchen, presents food to family, who chatter and laugh around the table. Only for my birthday, it wasn't my mom cooking; it was me.
It's ironic. My lack of mommification definitely ruled as my biggest worry throughout my 29th year. While I'm not in any rush to get married or procreate, nor am I sure I want to, I still feel like I haven't grown up all the way. I haven't gone through any of the typical stages that denounces one an adult.
I mean, a month ago, I moved back in with my parents.
But it doesn't feel like I moved back in with my parents. Everyone works all the time. Everyone has his or her own agenda. Everyone's getting along. It's like we're... dare I say it... friends...?
Two minutes into my birthday dinner, we were cracking up laughing.
Moira's boyfriend became a cop last week. She thread her fingers into a gun and waved it around the table, telling us: "David's getting his weapons qualification! Then he has to take his gun with him EVERYWHERE."
"So he's going to have to bring his gun here?" I squeaked.
Matthew pretended to be Dave, sitting down at dinner and accidentally setting off his gun. "Oh no! Elmo!" he said.
Dad erupted with a barking laugh. He hates our cat, Elmo.
"I knew there was something I liked about that boy!" he roared.
Moira's eyes filled with tears and she cried, "Kitty!"
Which only made us laugh harder.
On our plates was a healthy version of our typical birthday menu. Vegan pizza. Vegan cake. No refined sugar. It went over surprisingly well.
Originally my mother said that she wasn't eating the pizza, freaked out by soy cheese. But she did and with a full mouth, garbled, "This is amazing!"
My dad remarked on how it left him satiated, but not uncomfortably so.
"I think you're onto something here," he said.
And that was the best present-to know that I'm slowly winning them over to healthier eating. Ha!
Next came the cake, or as Matthew called it, "colon cleanser." Can you imagine a cake without eggs? I couldn't. But it worked. Even if the icing was a little runny.
Everyone ate it and got chocolate everywhere. Unlike when we were kids, Mom didn't shriek about our clothes and the tablecloth, and Dad didn't growl about the furniture or the rug. The didn't have to. Us kids know the drill by now. Dab the stain with ice and water. No big deal.
As we stacked the plates and took them to the kitchen, I realized that I HAVE grown up, because WE have all grown up as a family. We've grown together, becoming more like a family, instead of separating like so many do. We've grown in a way that makes us get along better.
Mom's more sarcastic. Dad's less so. Matthew's happy. Cat saves her temper tantrums for a day that's not someone's birthday. Moira talks. I listen.
Together, we are a group of adults who enjoy each other's company. We ARE friends.
Realizing that made me feel thirty.
That, and waking up the next day to discover I'd thrown my back out from all that cooking.