I wanted to make my 49th birthday special and -- boy howdy! -- was it ever! I started celebrating by preparing a bribe for Billy Joel and ended up on stage at a concert.
But first, the backstory.
I realize 50 is supposed to be the milestone year, but I figured why not celebrate everything leading up to the milestone? It’s like celebrating Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, or TGITh.
Forget carpe diem. Carpe anum!
In that spirit I began celebrating my birthday, which officially occurred Sunday, on Thursday. How else to kick off a big celebration, than by baking nearly eight dozen cupcakes and almost as many chocolate chip cookies? Those treats were the key to my brilliant plan: Operation Bribe the Students to Bribe Billy Joel.
Carpe Piano Man.
I figure Billy Joel might be able to ignore my request for an autograph, but how could he ignore a bunch of junior high and high school students writing him in support of their teacher's request? In exchange for a cupcake or a cookie, I asked students in my classes (and any random student who happened to wander by) to write a short note to Billy Joel explaining what makes me so special and why he should send me his autograph.
What I wanted was an autograph. What I got was a day as one of the most popular teachers in the school (who doesn’t love cupcakes, cookies or the person who gives them to you?), and a bunch of complimentary notes that made me feel warm and fuzzy.
Carpe Sugar Rush.
Not everyone who took a treat wrote a letter, but that’s ok because the smiles and thanks (and puzzled looks of disbelief) they gave me were a gift, too. I had almost forgotten how much fun it is perform random acts of kindness.
Carpe Pay It Forward.
The down-side to my brilliant plan is that kids are already asking me if there's been a reply yet. Obviously I didn't think this through. Some how, some way, someone's autograph is going to have to be hanging on my wall by May.
Carpe Snail Mail.
Flash forward to Sunday and the concert.
After I managed to not embarrass The Princess at the One Direction concert this summer, she graciously invited me to a concert for my birthday: a concert she wanted to go to, but couldn't convince any of her friends to go with her (or they couldn't convince their parents to let them go, not sure which).
Carpe Cool Mom.
And that's how I wound up at a bar in Iowa City on my 49th birthday with a bunch of 21-and-youngers at a concert by hip-hop artist Huey Mack.
I'm going to give you a moment to let that soak in.
I'd like to say I was offended by the language. But let's face it, I'm the woman who gives up swearing for Lent. Every. Year. (Or as they would have said at the concert, “every mother f****ing year.”)
Carpe Potty Mouth.
I'd like to say I'm appalled by rap and hip-hop lyrics. But let's face it, as an English major and writer I admire the story-telling and that poetic ability to create rhythm with words.
Carpe Mad Writing Skills.
I'd like to say I didn't like the music. But let's face it, I was jumping up and down and waving my arms just like everyone else.
Carpe Dance Shoes.
I'd like to say I didn't get a kick out of it when Huey Mack said “We've never had a Mom in the audience before. Come on up here!” But let's face it, I did.
Carpe Are You Kidding Me?
I'd like to say I didn't chug a beer on-stage with a 22-year-old hip-hop artist. But of course I did.
I'd like to say going to a concert with my daughter, laughing and dancing with her, and having her think it was cool that I was on stage with Huey Mack was probably one of the best birthday presents I've ever had.
Because it was.