17. Eleventh grade. I wear brown corduroy pants and an argylel sweater to school, and my friends give me a pair of argyle suspenders and matching argyle socks, because I apparently think i'm a Scottish clown. So I spend the day dressed like a clown with a balloon bouquet tied to my pants. I get my highest bowling score ever. The bowling shoes really added something special to the ensemble.
18. Twelfth grade. After having my heart broken over the summer, I consent to a spaghetti dinner and homecoming dance on my birthday with a seemingly nice boy who later rapes me at knifepoint after 3 months of concentrated stalking. He makes a big deal about driving his father's Mustang, how expensive dinner is, and the ridiculous book on Esperanto he ceremoniously gives me. Pretty much the only birthday/year not better than the previous one.
19. I'm a freshman in college, and my mom sends me a care package including Dr. Suess's "Oh Say Can You Say?" and encourages me to get drunk and enjoy the tongue twisters. I follow her advice and vomit in ever receptacle from my shoes to my roommate's trash can. My boyfriend gives me a large long-sleeved Toasters t-shirt that makes me look like a man. Still, it's better than last year.
20. I'm a sophomore in college, and my roommates and I are still having a grand time and not bugging the crap out of eachother, so they each give me sweet little gifts. My high school friend breaks into my house through the kitchen window and sets up a battle of miniature plastic pigs on my kitchen table. I receive Marduk the Armadillo, a corporeal god who still guards my studio. My boyfriend, some guy named Craig, leaves huge, hand-cut wooden signs around the house for me, the loss of which bothers me to this day.
21. I'm a junior/senior in college. I'm dating a nice vegetarian boy who works at The Cookie Company. I eat a LOT of cookie cake for my birthday.
22. I'm at my very first job. They have a cake for me and give me little gifts, and I feel like a grown-up for the first time. I'm fairly certain that I went to see The Blair Witch Project for free at a second-run theater where a friend worked, and I nearly gave myself a heart attack coming home alone and walking through the creepy, unlit garden.
23. Still at the same job, I must work a huge gala event on the night of my birthday. I'm in metallic red snakeskin pants and mile-high heels until 3am serving rich people champagne. Dr. Crog meets me afterwards, and we go to Kroger to buy a little white puppy-shaped cake covered in sprinkles, which we eat at my kitchen table.
24. I'm in Clemson, living in a one-bedroom apartment with Dr. Crog. He puts up signs for me, one of our favorite traditions. Dr. Crog conspires with my friends to throw me a fabulous birthday party at the local skating rink, where we bribe the DJ to play nothing but 80's music, which heavily confuses the children. Dr. Crog comes in 2nd in the limbo contest. I have a great time skating in a tiara, eating cake, and opening my first DVDs for our brand new DVD player. I don't think we've ever watched The Mexican again.
25. I'm in Pendleton, SC, happily married to Dr. Crog. He puts up signs and gets me a cake. The girls at work take me out to my favorite restaurant for greasy fried haddock and chips. My girlfriends throw me a sleepover party, where we dance, get drunk, watch silly movies, and I gorge on my very favorite cake with rainbow chip frosting. They call me "the mouse in the belljar" for nibbling off the cake plate all night.
26. We're in Birmingham. We have no friends and are generally pretty miserable. Dr. Crog takes me to Steak and Ale, our favorite restaurant. He buys me the most hilarious cake-- yellow cake with chocolate whipped icing, covered in toy cars. I try really hard to pretend I like it and fail miserably. Tres pathetique.
27. We're in Alpharetta. I don't remember a lot from Alpharetta, really. I have no recollection of this birthday. I'm assuming there was cake involved somewhere.
28. We live in a little one bedroom apartment and are about to get pregnant, although we don't know it. Jan takes me to Anna Lee's for lunch. Dr. Crog takes me to Killer Creek for dinner. Some day that week, my parents take us to Red Lobster for Super Shrimp Glutton day. I eat a lot of shrimp and make myself sick.
29. We take our 2 month old baby for her first big road trip to meet her Savannah grandparents and to attend my dear friend Amy's wedding on the beach. We have a wonderful time at the beautiful wedding with lots of old friends. I have lots of cake.
30. We drop Cleo off with my parents and go to Five Guys for lunch with Adrienne and Evan. Then everyone humors me by pretending they enjoy ice skating as much as I do, even though most of them are in serious pain from the cold, falling, or skates. Dr. Crog and the kids give me lots of cool art supplies for my birthday, which i'll one day get to use for encaustic painting when i'm done pregging and nursing. Dr. Crog also gets my first, very own, super special beautiful Cake by Darcy, which I eat in, like, one week and share with my friend Christine, who gives birth on the 23rd and is able to eat the cake the next day.
31. I'm 8 months pregnant. I wake up before dawn, worrying about stupid crap, but manage to salvage the morning with waffles, a steaming 30 minute shower and the chance to read on my favorite couch while the family sleeps. Dr. Crog and Cleo wish me a very happy birthday. My good friend Christine makes special Nutella-magical-calzone thingies that taste like hot brownie mix on crack. I buy some shoes. A fine evening is promised. We're going to Medieval Times on Friday, since watching grown men beat eachother on horseback while drinking Sprite out of a goblet is really the only exciting event/activity a preggo can enjoy.
In conclusion, CAKE. And I like being much, much happier at 31 than I ever thought possible at 16. No wonder I can't watch cheesy teen movies anymore-- life is so much better now.