Monday, January 01, 2007

My Magical Birthday- with Love to the World!

Some people wonder what a perfect day is like.

But I've lived a perfect day.

So I'll tell you what it's like.

It begins at midnight, the very stroke as the clock touches twelve, and it becomes December 31st. Two people simultaneously call me, one my friend from Israel, the other from New York, to wish me a happy birthday. Several people write on my Facebook wall, and others message me. It is midnight; it is December 31st. The fun has begun.

My friend, whom I haven't seen in quite a while, came over for dinner and brought me beautiful white and pink flowers on December 30th, alongside a lovely 'Happy Birthday 'card. I was up pretty late, and discovered one of my favorite videos before I went to sleep. I watched this video several times, because it's mine; it's about my month and Josh Groban sings it (far better than Linkin Park ever could.) So here's that:

All right, very good. I wake up in the morning. I have made a habit since I was very little of creeping down the stairs to see the decorations and the presents piled on the table. I creep down the stairs- and- nothing! No decorations, no presents, absolutely nothing. I was pretty sad.

My mother informs me that I should come with her to the mall to get a haircut. I am in a miserable mood. I get the haircut, and am slightly happier, and then do my best to avoid being forced to buy a balloon. My mother, however, claims it is imperative that I stop by American Greetings to buy a balloon, which is a rather trying occupation. Finally, equipped with a Mickey-Mouse balloon (my more sophisticated choice, with celestial underpinnings, is unfortunately out of stock) I grimly make for the car.

And then we come to our house.

And someone opens the door.

Presto! There are 'Happy Birthday' signs everywhere. Balloon decorations everywhere. I am serenaded by my father, sister and brothers. My father plays violin, my sister piano, and the boys play drums/ violin. They're all playing 'Happy Birthday' which quite literally makes my day. I look at the dining room table and see that it is covered in presents of varying sizes and shapes, and that rose petals are strewn everywhere. It's absolutely gorgeous.

(Ha! So my mother hadn't lost her senses when she forced me to buy a balloon. That was merely a stalling tactic! Ha!)

I ask them to play the 'Star Wars' theme for me afterwards and they oblige.

Frantic scramble for the digital camera ensues. And then comes the opening of my presents.

The first piece I open is a beautiful framed picture of Belle and the Beast. It's utterly gorgeous, and I laugh out loud delightedly.

Then the present my sister bought me, a grey Wicked sweatshirt.

Then the boys' presents, Starbucks cards (for New York.) You have to understand that they bought this with their own money, which makes the gift that much greater.

Then my father, who has cleverly decided to get me The Kuzari in English (as I'll be taking the course next semester.)

Earrings from Zales, gold and silver and cleverly designed. Pomegranate shower gel from Ulta. Various books from my mother. Clothing from one of my favorite stores, The Buckle. Lip gloss in various colors.

This is insanity.

After the required period of time, we break our fast on a light repast. Then I open the rest of the gifts. Glittering clothing and dazzling shirts. Aqua shower gel. More books, some evil and dark and others hilarious. I am laughing and laughing and unable to stop.

And then I'm informed that my parents are taking me to Shallots. Not just me, but the whole family. In honor of my eighteenth birthday.

This is the Shallots. The famous, glorious Shallots, the most expensive, amazing, wonderful kosher restaraunt in all of Chicago. That Shallots. Yes, that Shallots.

And they're taking me there. And they've purchased an outfit for me to wear. And I can't even understand all of this. So we assemble ourselves and put together the required clothes and take pictures and then we are out-

Into the ambience. The votive candles, the dim lighting, the French cuisine, the juicy steaks. Ah, yes. The steaks.

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And my family, whom I love, my brothers being clever and witty and sweet, and my sister, who has developed a sarcastic streak of dry wit in my absence. The steaks, the appetizers, the entrees...and the desserts.

Because you see, I thought that I wasn't going to have a cake. So I figured I would order dessert from Shallots, and that would be it. And so we ordered desserts.

The first dessert was mine. It is something Shallots is famous for, called 'The Black Hat.' Mine was presented to me as a bomb with the fuse lit. The candle was inside a scoop of Sorbet. The cake is a gooey confection of chocolate goodness. Or, to put it officially, "Belgian chocolate cake, sorbetof the season (baked to order) with a liquid center."

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and my brother had this exciting dessert:

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My sister went for chocolate pecan pie:

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And my last brother decided on The Trio Sorbet:

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He was very pleased with the gin glass.

But here's the most INSANE part of the evening...I come back home, bursting with joy and thanks and feeling completely overwhelmed by the kindness of my parents and family.

And then...and then...

I find out I have a cake.

But not just any cake.

A 'Beauty and the Beast' themed cake. Made by Sarelle.

Yes, that Sarelle. The fantastic artist Sarelle, whose cakes grace wedding halls and bar mitzvahs alike. That Sarelle. My cake is apparently titled 'Enchanted in Chocolate.' It's a decadent fudge cake. So I'm informed.

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(Look HERE for a bigger picture)

See the rose? See the mirror? Look at the base of the mirror and you'll see that it says 'Chana.' Look above and you'll see it says '18.' And then look at the gorgeous gold gothic lettering.


Was ever any child so completely and utterly happy? Were ever any parents kinder, nicer, and more interested in spoiling said child?

If I knew how to thank my parents, I would, but I don't even have the words.

If I knew how to thank my sisters and brothers...not even for their gifts, but for all the thoughtfulness that went into the gifts...I would, but all I can give them are helpless glances as I gaze up at them in a kind of semi-delusional state of awe.

I truly want to thank all my friends for calling, or writing me emails, or leaving me messages, or (to my fellow bloggers) for participating with such enthusiam and imagination in my Masquerade Ball! And now, if you would, Masquers, I bid you unmask. You've done a thoroughly good job of confounding me, and I have no idea who anybody is!

I'm utterly, utterly happy, and it's wonderful to go to sleep in such a euphoric mood.

Thank you, everybody. I love you all.


Lela Harbinger said...

love ya babe! wish i could celebrate with you, we'd go to kafein or something the day after the whizzerclan had their share ... thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

Aw, your so welcome!
P.S. I think I'll try developing a dry sense of humor...(at least!)

Ezzie said...

:D Once again, happy birthday!

SJ said...

Wow, Chana, just reading about your day made me so happy! It truly sounds are one lucky girl! Hoorah!

I am now officially unmasking...I am the girl in the gold dress who gave you the really strange presents...if you didn't get it, the clothing was to make sure that any two-dimensional creations that you decide to put on the board in the future are tzenuah! And in case you didn't know before, I have believed myself to be Belle since I was a child (I even wrote one of my Stern honors application essays about it, no joke)...which is quite uncanny, as it appears that you are her too. We must be twins.

Happy day after your birthday!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy for you! Your parents are awesome!

By the way, in addition to the two OBVIOUS masks, I am also "Yehuda Aryeh." (That's my middle name.)

Sarah Likes Green said...

wow! just reading about it makes me so happy.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Chana - I wish you many many more perfect days!

Happy Day! Huzzah! And may the force be with you.


Anonymous said...

You've inspired me to make plan beautiful things for the birthdays of the beautiful people I love.
Happy Birthday and many happy returns of the day.
The post was lovely.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday. Mine was on the thirtyeth. We celebrated at a kosher restaurant in Atlanta. I was fortunate to have all three of my children in town. My son-in-law is an orthodox cantor and adds excitement to our get togethers.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday- till 120.

Not fair. I never received for any of my birthdays anything- not even a cake- as when its my birthday noone needs the weight!! Lol.

Also about registering to vote- if you don't register chances are you prob won't get jury duty- so its your call.

Mazel tov again

and PS I love your posts