(In Which I Strive To Not Talk About Sad Things During Another Post For The American Cancer Society)
I was looking through stacks of old photos in hopes of finding some inspiration for this entry, something that would FINALLY maybe focus more on the "birthdays" part of ACS' More Birthdays campaign and less about, you know, the "cancer" thing.
I'm not sure if I found inspiration, exactly, but I definitely found a theme.
And that theme would be: Cake, Pinafores and Unfortunate Bangs.
Oh, I'm kidding. But not about the cake part.
Aaaaaand maybe not so much about the bangs thing, either.
Sometimes I feel guilty about how few photos I manage to ever actually print out. About 99% of my children's childhoods remain solidly in virtual form only (albeit with a robust and slightly paranoid web of backups going on under the hood). There's something nice about sifting through yellowed stacks of photos, never knowing what awkward, poorly lit memory you'll hit on next.
Then again: No timestamps. Perhaps these photos were once labeled in an album, but are now floating loose and out of order, so I have no idea how old I am in the above photo. Five? If I had to guess, based on the handmade dress, which I think I remember from a preschool class photo. My obsession with Snow White burned fast and bright throughout my entire childhood (#1 reason: SHE WASN'T BLOND) and I don't know why the Smurfs seem to be there too. Except to shame the me of 2011 who "accidentally" and "maliciously" deleted my six-year-old's Season Pass to the Smurfs on the TiVo because HOLY GOD THAT SHOW IS ANNOYING AND TERRIBLE.
This photo pretty much sums up every birthday party ever: The "good china" set out at my insistence (including the cups and saucers, from which we would drink our juice). The cardboard crown. The "Happy Birthday" crepe paper that my mom bought exactly one roll of and used for a full 18 years of birthdays, as it unfurled like the loaves and fishes. At least one birthday present infuriatingly wrapped in Christmas paper. Sparse attendance thanks to it being so close to Christmas, save for my friend Laura, who was and always will be prettier than me.
And my dad, right off to the side, because the birthday girl demoted him from his usual seat at the head of the table.
Here I acquiesced to paper plates and cups, but please note the fancy candlesticks and cake stand. This makes it okay.
(Birthday crepe paper? Check. Hung upside down? Double check. Laura, looking just like Snow White so much it killed me a little inside? Still and to this day, people. STILL AND TO THIS DAY.)
A rare non-cake-related birthday shot. In fact, the only one I found. My crown says "6" on it so I'm Noah's age here. I think my teacher made me that crown, and I would like someone to please tell me what the hell happened to my Tomy Fashion Plates set. OH GOD THOSE WERE SO AWESOME.
Also awesome: Those pants. Purple jersey knit, high-waisted, with a belt. I think there were pleats involved. Definitely tapered ankles that I stuffed into multiple pairs of slouch socks. There is actually a companion photo to this one of me holding that outfit up on Christmas morning, already super excited at the prospect of wearing such a mature-looking ensemble at my birthday party instead of a handmade dress and pinafore.
Like this one. I wish I still had that dress. I wish I still had all of those people.
My dad, my aunt Betty, my "uncle" Jack who my aunt always insisted was just her good friend but of course we all know better now, like we now know better than that giant ashtray full of cigarette butts right on the table, holy shit.
I am four years old here. I know because this one is labeled.
My dad was the one who labeled it.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to print out some photos.
This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society's More Birthdays campaign.