Getting Older

With Sylvia running a lot of public events in Chicago, she asked me sometime back in March or April if I’d come to some of them to check them out and keep her company a bit. I’ll be honest that my initial reaction wasn’t one of excitement just because I’m not too much of a festival kind of person. There were a few of the events she’s running that I was looking forward to, but all of the big ones? I wasn’t really sure about it. It wasn’t till Blues Fest closed a little over a week ago that I actually “got it” and I’m looking forward to more of the events that I wasn’t initially interested in.

Granted, I know and understand that now, but when I got an email back in May inviting our friends Dave and Amanda to come hang out at a festival she was running in Forest Park, with me cc’d on the email, I was initially confused as she hadn’t actually invited me or even really given me many details about it. Sylvia and I had actually just had a conversation about how it was inappropriate to just invite friends to things without us checking in with one another first. I was kind of annoyed since I’d made the first faux pas quite unintentionally, but she’d gone and done it too after we’d talked and straightened it all out! Once Amanda responded that yes, she and Dave would love to come and that they could pick me up on the way, I just gave up and decided I was heading out to a festival in Forest Park and there was nothing I could do about it. As much as I didn’t want to go out to the suburbs for something that didn’t really seem to have much to offer other than some food, I figured it didn’t really matter since I’d get to see Sylvia in her element and any time spent hanging out with Dave and Amanda is a good time.

On the Sunday of the festival, I coordinated with Amanda for them to pick me up, slathered myself in suntan lotion and we were off! Sylvia also asked me to bring my fancy camera to get photos of the fest. I thought it was kind of a weird request because I wasn’t really expecting much to see, much less take photos of out in Forest Park, but I humored her anyway as I assumed she knew something about the area that I clearly didn’t. Amanda told me her story about the Saturday/Sunday sausage, and at one point, Dave and I chatted about the ethics and concept of hiding money from the government for no real reason other than to pass the time. While we were going on about that, Amanda was uncharacteristically quiet in the front seat and I chalked it up to navigating to a new place with their finicky GPS.

Amanda gave Sylvia a call as we parked to let her know we were close and she said she’d meet us and then bring us in to the festival. We walked over and Sylvia was sitting, waiting for us on a bench outside of the Brown Cow and brought us inside. I got really confused and I said, “wait, why are we walking through an ice cream shop?” I was also thinking that this is a really weird way to get to a street festival, but maybe there’s some back door? Wait, that sounded even dumber than why we were even in an ice cream shop in the first place. As we walked toward the back of the shop, this happened:

I was having a surprise 30th birthday party?! And everybody was there?! How did this happen?!

Sylvia joked sometime last year that for my 30th birthday she’d throw me a surprise birthday party at one of my favorite places ever, King’s Spa. I fell so much in love with the idea that I couldn’t just let it go and forget about it long enough so she could actually consider putting it together. I would mention the idea to everyone I knew and subsequently ruined any chance of a surprise. She got really annoyed with me because it was a wonderfully weird and brilliant idea.

We did end up going to the spa with a few friends a couple of weeks prior as a sort of joint mini-birthday for the both of us (Sylvia’s at the end of April, mine at the end of May) and we had a fabulous time. I considered the matter closed and didn’t think anything else about a 30th birthday party as I realized that even though I liked the idea of a big party, I would recall my disastrous 16th birthday party at Ed Debevic’s and then didn’t really want one. I was actually was sort of relieved that there wouldn’t be some big party because there would be no me being the center of attention or having a few dozen people mashing the world’s smallest ice cream sundae in my face. Thankfully I did not to have ice cream shoved in my face on my 30th birthday.

When I walked to the back of the Brown Cow and the initial reaction started to wear off, it took me basically the next couple of hours of the party to really figure out what all had happened. First I had to process all of who all was actually there!

These guys!

And these guys!

And these guys too!

That’s not even including the other friends that I don’t have photos of! Once that initial shock wore off, Sylvia brought me into a side room where there was a ton of pizza! I was having a pizza and ice cream surprise birthday party with all of my friends? How awesome is that! The best part is that Sylvia told everyone to bring pizza from their favorite pizza place, so we hadall kinds of different pies to chow down on. So I grabbed a few slices and set out just hanging out and catching up with my friends. Eventually I even got my own birthday sundae and nobody shoved my face down in it!



It was really wonderful seeing everyone and the simple concept of getting friends, pizza and ice cream all together is so much better than anything else I could have imagined. I had such a blast seeing everyone while we all just hung out and stuffed our faces. After a couple of short hours, the festivities were over and everyone headed home. While it would have been rad to see everyone longer, I totally understood that it was good enough to really see everyone in one place at the same time. Everyone is busy so the fact that they came out at all was a great enough honor for me.

I didn’t begin to really process all of what had happened until the party was long over. I’m still kind of processing it and probably will for a while. I’m not the kind of person who really wants nor expects to be the center of any kind of attention. I’m pretty quiet and unassuming most of the time, honest! I’ve also been more than a little freaked out since the party since I now realize that the wedding is going to be far larger and is going to be more intense. I really hope the photos are good because I have a feeling I might not remember as much of the day as I’ll want to.

Another great thing is that I got to see my godson, Damien, twice in two days due to the fact that I insisted that Sylvia and I see Brandon, Cherry & Damien the day before the party. Sylvia didn’t tip her hand that I’d get to see them the next day and I’m thankful for that. He was more than happy to see me on Saturday…

Hey buddy!

…but not so much on Sunday. Poor guy!

What’s wrong buddy?

Oh, and one last thing. I feel like I say it all the time, but I’ll say it again. Getting older is awesome. Seriously.



One Response to “Getting Older”

  1. erica Says:

    YES! We got you!

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