So what would have been Andrew's 30th birthday arrived on Sunday. What a milestone. I really wonder how my boy would have been at 30? Better off? Worse? Things we will never know the answer to.
I watched some of his friends celebrate their 30th birthdays via Facebook. One of his friends, Deney, posted a nice acknowledgement of this marker year and how it felt to receive birthday wishes from so many people in his life via Facebook: friends, parents of friends, business associates, classmates, etc.
Actually, I will just quote to you what Deney wrote:
"I am feeling very blessed to have gotten to know so many wonderful people over these past thirty years! I feel that my 30's are going to be a pivotal point in my life and I can't wait to see what the future holds. Embrace life to the fullest everyday. Thank you for the birthday wishes and I hope that everyone has a great 2013!" -- Deney
Okay, so I can't help feel a bit envious. I wish my son could have had a day like that. I wish we could have shared it with him.
I remember my 30th birthday. My sister and sister-in-law made sure it was a big deal by arranging a wine tasting tour via limousine service. A coworker who was turning 21 went along with us, and a few more friends. I laugh about it, remembering what a wine-wuss I was in those days...I only tasted the whites and roses. I watched in awe as my sister-in-law tasted all the reds, too. Nowadays I am much more of a wine afficianado, so I actually prefer reds to whites.
I wanted my girls to come over and have dinner or something with us. For some reason my youngest wasn't up for it, and then my older daughter was trying to make plans for a date with a new friend. I figured, we can celebrate Andrew's birthday anytime, but I wanted my daughter to go on her date and have a good time. Move on! Embrace life!!! We could all meet up the following day, I reasoned. Still, I felt a little lost.
So I spent the day cooking a Portuguese dish from a recipe I found online, incorporating my farmer's market bounty of vegetables, something Andrew would have appreciated very much with his healthy-style of eating. I made a Portuguese Feijoada with Accompaniments: rice, collard greens and vinaigrette. The base of the stew was bacon and ham hocks with black beans--Andrew loved black beans! The vinaigrette was more of a salsa with vinegar, and it was delicious! I think Andrew would have loved this meal. I also made his favorite chocolate mayonnaise cake.
The meal was shared with my husband, my stepson and my brother who came over to visit. I had cooked the collard greens a couple of minutes too long so they were slightly scorched, but no one really minded. All in all, it was a small feast.
The next day I got ahold of the girls to figure out our plans. I got the hint they didn't want to drive over, so we loaded up and headed their direction, with a spaghetti casserole and the cake in tow. We ended up at my younger daughter's new place and had a very nice dinner, visiting and catching up on all the details of the older daughter's date and all. We mentioned Andrew briefly, but no one even brought up that it was his 30th birthday. We didn't light candles or sing. When it got time for cake, I cut into a very, very dense chocolate cake. It was almost like fudge. What did I screw up? I made it from memory, so I probably forgot a key ingredient...I went back through it in my head. Oh well, I will have to call my mother-in-law and ask her what I forgot. We all had a piece of cake and trashed the rest.
Life isn't perfect. We all keep on going anyway. Maybe this year is pivotal for all of us--maybe we are moving on.