Saturday, October 29, 2011

Twenty Years

So, today I turn 38, which means it's been 20 years since I turned 18.

I get no sympathy from my friends who are older ( some of them MUCH older, hehe) or from my husband who hit 40 a few years ago.

This birthday feels rather monumental for me. It pushes me closer to the elite 40 Club. I've always thought that when I turned 40 I would be a legit adult.

This morning all I can think about is the fact that I have been over 18 for 20 years. All of those signs that say "Must be 18 or Older" have applied to me for a long time now.

The morning I turned 18 was crisp, much like today. I was a senior in high school at Paul Laurence Dunbar in Lexington. I was also cranky, which I am afraid was normal for mornings at that time in my life. I was often running late to pick up my best friend, Shannon, a habit which I proudly maintain today. My parents were on my nerves and I just didn't have time for anything. Mom and Dad grinned as they wished me happy birthday. Clearly they thought something was funny but I wasn't in on the joke. I ran out to the car. Throwing my backpack behind me I started the car and backed out quickly. I had just mastered my Buick Skyhawk which was a stick shift. I was SO cool. And so late.

Shannon got into the car and probably didn't say much to me as she was also aware of my crankiness. Apparently everyone was cranky that October 29th morning because I was honked at all the way to school. I was so irritated. I was like, (insert valley girl-Kentucky style accent) "Oh my God. What is wrong with everyone? I am, like, just driving to school. Seriously. Get a life."

Shannon was smirking so I guess she thought it was funny.

There was more honking the closer we got to school, but I still wasn't clued in to the fact that I seemed to be the common denominator in the honking situation.

I parked, angrily, and got out of the car. I walked around the back of the car and there I witnessed the reason for all of the horn blowing.

My loving parents had duck taped a poster board that read "HONK! It's my 18th Birthday!" to the back of my car. In my early morning ire I had missed it, something I'm sure Mom and Dad were banking on.

I couldn't help smiling. Suddenly all the horns that had been headed my way felt loving rather than hateful. I was filled with joy that my parental units had wanted my day to start of with a bang. Or a honk, as it was.

It was an amazing birthday. There were quirky gifts waiting for me in my first hour class. I was in a cow phase. Don't judge me. I'm from Kentucky. Anyway, the print was a picture of two cows, one of which was holding a small rose in her mouth. Hilarious and so weird. I kept that picture until a few years ago. Shannon had a surprise party for me, and it really was a surprise and it ended at Chuck E. Cheese with many rounds of ski ball.

It was an epic birthday, truly. I have had many birthdays since then that have been wonderful,but my 18th still tops the list.

I can't believe so many years have passed since then, mainly because I don't feel like an adult most of the time, at least until I'm paying bills. I look in the mirror and sometimes feel a little shock. Not in a bad way, but in a wow-I'm-a-grown-up-and-I-have-the-lines-to-prove-it kind of way.

It's already been a great birthday for me today. I've had donuts and 2 cups of coffee. My kids have sung me "Happy Birthday" multiple times and I haven't changed a dirty diaper yet. It's a good day and I'm so thankful to God that I've made it here with so many of the people I hold dear.

So, what's your favorite birthday memory so far?


  1. Adorable. I think my 18th was also my favorite (I think it was my 18th.) There was a Danielson Famile concert at the coffeehouse (wonderfully weird folk rock) and my parents took a Barbie cake and accoutrements to the show, and the band sang to me. It was awesome.

  2. i love it and happy birthday!!

  3. I had forgotten that fun day. We counted on your crabbiness that morning. We laughed all day. Happy Birthday! 38 is still young so tack a sign on your car and enjoy the day. Do you remeber your trip to Denny's for your special dinner.Love you dear daughter

  4. Great story- and I can't get over how much you and Laurel look alike!

  5. HAHAHAHAHA! I can't stop laughing at that last picture! Kara, you look just like Laurel does now and your dad's mustache! EPIC! I mean, it could be in the hall of fame of mustaches along with David Forston as soon as I open the place. ANd I love your mom's glasses! HAHAHA! oh its all so great. The 70s were a wonderful time weren't they Kara?

  6. You looked a little like punky brewster!! Love it!!

  7. Shanna- everybody tells me I look like Punky. Roger - it was the early 90's when that photo was taken, dork. Dad - I had forgotten about Denny's. Kate - I must hear more of your 18th!Carol - Laurel is my clone in MANY ways. ;) Thanks for reading!