I’ve done Amber’s November Birthday Bash for several years now. I met Amber at the first GRL in Albuquerque where she, Stephani Hecht, Jackie Nacht and VJ Summers were mom-ing me because the altitude kicked my asthmatic ass.
This year the theme is to write about your most significant birthday. For someone born on Halloween, you’d think that would be a tough one. As a kid I had the obligatory Halloween themed birthday parties. Ho Hum.
When I got older, as a teen, they got a bit more fun, and as a 20-something they turned into a reason to dress up in costume and get drunk. Eh.
When I try to think of a really significant birthday two come to mind. The first is the birthday that fell between the death of my mom in August and the death of my dad in January. So much grief. I had nothing to celebrate. My dad was like a zombie, stunned from the loss of my mom. Honestly, he never recovered from that. I was equally stunned but I had to hold the family together. My brother had just been booted by his soon to be ex-wife and losing mom on top of that left him pretty much useless. So despite being the youngest, I had to make the decisions, and go to work, and keep everything going.
I won’t lie to you. It was so damned hard. How can you celebrate a birthday under the cloud of overwhelming loss? Grief took precedence. It had to. I don’t even know what I did for my birthday that year. I can’t remember at all. All I remember is how lost I was without my mom. Grief really defined me at that point in my life. I really knew nothing else.
A couple of years later, I had another significant birthday. This one defined by gratitude. I was sharing a house with several other people. My boyfriend and I weren’t getting along well because, eh, I turned up pregnant. All he and I did at that point was fight although I tried really hard to keep my mouth shut and not aggravate him. It didn’t work so well because just the sight of me seemed to piss him off. He turned verbally abusive and my housemates had to listen to how he spoke to me.
At the time, I still hadn’t really processed all the grief from losing both parents, the home I’d grown up in and almost everything I owned. I was in no position to have a kid, but I guess I didn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth either since doctors had long told me I’d probably never have kids. So when my boyfriend decided to go out drinking with his work buddies on my birthday, one of my housemates decided to do something.
Carla was a truck driver. Not long haul. She hauled carrots from the fields to the packing house locally in Salinas, California. She was easily six feet tall, taller than my boyfriend by a couple inches. She decided that since the boyfriend wasn’t going to do anything for my birthday, she would.
She grabbed a couple of sheets out of the linen closet, cut eye and mouth holes in them and tossed one over my head and one over hears. Grocery bags in hand, she took me Trick-or-Treating in the neighborhood.
MY GOD. People laughed and laughed at us. The tall “ghost” and the short pregnant “ghost.” We got so much candy we could barely carry it. We went home dumped it in a bigger bag, weighed it on the bathroom scale (about 6 pounds!) and then took our grocery bags out again.
The neighborhood was highly entertained by us in our flowered sheets. We got another big load of candy, about 12 pounds in all. It was crazy! It was weird! It was the freakiest Halloween I’d ever spent. And was so grateful. For the distraction. For the candy. For Carla caring.
A couple weeks later the boyfriend shoved my face into the refrigerator door and I walked. Before I headed to the battered women’s shelter, I thanked Carla for the gift of the weirdest birthday ever. She hugged me and wished me well. I don’t think I ever saw her again. That was my 29th birthday.
I want to wish Amber a very happy birthday and I hope all of you have great birthdays this year as well.
Latest Release: Kissing Joan Collins
Buy Link: Amazon
Lex is giving away 2 e-copies to two lucky commenters.