Back then it was chocolate cake, candles, games and presents. I would be stressing about having the house ready, the cake ready, the presents wrapped, enough games, food and movies to fill the time so the house wasn't destroyed by bored little boys and girls. We would have a pinata filled with candy and pray it didn't rain. Balloons blown up for that hopping game. Prizes for the games - don't forget the prizes. Goody bags. Film for the camera and batteries charged.
I would plan on being up all night, on call to settle disputes, supervise, chaperone, make sure everyone went home alive.
Oh, those were the days...
Now I'm sitting alone in my living room, thumbing through albums full of old photographs, sipping a glass of wine and fighting the urge to call my baby to make sure he made it safe and sound to New York City, where he'll be celebrating his 25th birthday in style, lucky kid. Well, not so much a kid anymore, I guess. And not so much lucky, as smart. I'm glad he's taking advantage of this time in his life to travel. And I'm grateful he has a girlfriend who likes to travel, too.
I'm really not worried about him... and I'm not going to call until tomorrow, when my excuse will be to wish him a happy birthday. He's 25, after all. Or at least he will be tomorrow around noon.
This time 25 years ago I was in pain...so much pain!!...eager to meet this new person, totally unaware of how my life was about to change. How I was about to change. But I've already written about that here and here.
The thing is, having Tommy did change me. Drastically. I'm not sure if all mothers go through a transformation like that with their firstborn child, but for me it was such a life-changing experience that it still astounds me.
I realize I was lucky. Tommy is, and always has been, an amazing son. So sensitive and thoughtful, but with the capacity for brutal honesty. He was normal enough to cause me a lot of worry and trigger my first gray hairs, as is the firstborn's responsibility, but he learned from his mistakes. A mother can't ask for more than that.
I've never been to New York City - maybe I'll make it there for my 55th birthday. Or 60th. But if I can't go, the next best thing is knowing Tommy will be there, seeing the sites, creating birthday memories that will last him a lifetime.
Because, until tonight, I'd totally forgotten what I did for my 25th birthday...
I do remember Tom's 25th, though, after seeing these photos (gosh, we were such babies!)... we were at a restaurant called Texas Tumbleweed, really big back then, and our friend Jennett made Tom this special cake (yes, it's what you think it is)...
I can't wait to see the photos from Tommy's 25th celebration. Meanwhile, here are a few I came across of his other milestone birthdays...the first...
...and that's it. I believe that's the last birthday he let us celebrate, except for one time he let me take him to dinner when I drove him back up to college on his birthday. And when I say "let me", that's what I mean. I probably had to insist that he let me spend some money on him.
Yeah, he's a sweetie, alright. Happy 25th birthday, Tommy!! (I love you! Be careful!!)