Happy Birthday, Jenny!

I moved around quite a bit as a kid, changing schools and attempting to make new friends quick enough that I’d never be labeled, “the new girl”. In sixth grade it was as simple as having the same name, quickly becoming best friends with Jenny Hoffman.

We had notebooks we’d pass back and forth gushing over our latest crush, fully equipped with nicknames – based on their initials, of course.  We lived close to each other, but not close enough to share a bus stop so we’d alternate, meeting half way between our houses because best friends do not make entrances onto a school bus alone.  We also had (have, if we’re being serious) nicknames for each other… Fur-Fur and Imp – we were pretty unstoppable.

When I think about the shit we got into I often wonder how we are still here to talk about them. Both of our parents considered the other the bad influence when in reality, depending on the day and whose outlandish idea was better for that moment, we both were.

Today is Jenny’s birthday, and as a gift I’m documenting my most favorite memories of us.

Pizza Party

Not for us, for unsuspecting folks like our sixth grade teacher and a few others. We found it hilarious to call Pizza Hut and order pie’s for people, but it did not stop there. When we were able, we’d perch ourselves up on the hill outside and watch them get delivered. Looking back we probably should have felt bad for the delivery driver more than the recipient.

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College, Cat, and Cornfield

While visiting Jenny at college she had a simple question for me: Have you ever driven through a cornfield?  Growing up in the cities, this sounded intriguing: Sign me up!  When two nineteen year old girls borrow a car (please keep in mind that this was not our vehicle) to speed through a cornfield, what could possibly make the decision worse? Let’s bring a cat with us. This actually happened, people. It wasn’t our proudest moment, but hot damn did we laugh hard. She drove, I held the kitty. It was all fun and games until  we began spinning out of control, I was screaming at the top of my lungs and looked over to my BFF – there she is, perfectly calm, claiming: I got this, I got this… The car came to a halt and while she looked for the cat I sat examining my scratched up body, just happy to be alive. This was the night we realized we were indeed, ride-or-die bitches.

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Jenny’s College Days, My Visiting Days

Band – Last Two Chairs

We both played the flute and if you’re familiar with band you know about the “chair” system to show how great you are, or how much you suck at playing an instrument. Maybe it’s supposed to push you to be better, Jenny and I? We were last and second to last chair consistently and never got any better, and we did not care. We had a great time pretending to play at the concerts and socializing during class.

264698_10150300792770452_2736098_n.jpgCosmos Upstairs

We sat up in her bedroom one night and made Cosmos. I do not remember how old we were, but absolutely not 21. I do not even know if they were actually cosmos, but I trusted her bartending skills then just as I would now. I’m not sure if ‘cosmo night’ was the same night we decided to play out an entire photo shoot and tell each other how hot we were. I mean, look at these pictures, we probably should have sent them to agents or something – is that how modeling works?

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Kinsmor Drug

My first job, at fourteen years old, was cashiering at a drug store. It wasn’t long before I recruited Jenny and we basically ran the place. We worked a lot so we could afford to walk to the mall and buy one shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch with our earnings. We had creepy boys come in and flirt with us, and we liked it – giving them discounts on disposable cameras…because those were still a thing then. We had full access to the magazine rack, providing us free Teen Bop reading pleasure and while I hope we didn’t steal the posters, I wouldn’t have put it past us.

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Phil, the pharmacist is pictured at the bottom.

Karaoke Videos and Stickers

Do malls still have the karaoke booths? If not, they should. We choreographed these things, like, legit practiced dance moves and executed them (not so) flawlessly in a 4×5 box. If I had to guess, we did this at least 10 times. Picture this: Lisa Loeb, Stay, matching tye-dye gap purses and terribly frizzy hair. We’d exit the box after our stellar performance and wait for the VHS to pop out of the machine so we could run home and watch it, and talk about how awesome we were. Looking back, this hobby of ours (yes, I called it a hobby) was my favorite. The mall also provided us with picture booths and The Limited Too had the best one – it made stickers out of your photos. What more could we want? We stuck those bitches everywhere. The metal poles at the tennis courts in Richfield probably still have the faded goodness on them.

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Grand Am

It was with Jenny that I stole my step dad’s car to skip school and go shopping. I will take credit for this idea, but let’s get real – she thought it was a spectacular one. You can read the full story here… but just know that I drove from Wisconsin to Minnesota, picked her up at the bus stop, bumped to some Missy Elliot, threw some tuna fish sandwiches out the window and got home without getting caught – until three or four years later.

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Jenny is one of those people who entered my life at just the right time, I sincerely hope that our children will find friends like we were for each other… while especially hoping they don’t do half the shit we did.

Happy Birthday, Jenny!

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

December 1st

Every year December 1st comes around and reminds me that my kid is another year older, another year of his childhood – gone.

Nine. Nine years old. Which means I started brewing him like ten years ago. To think I’ve committed myself to something for that long is impressive – I mean… I know he’s my kid and all – but shit. TEN YEARS?!

I lay in bed at night and wonder if I’ve done anything that he will resent me for later, or even now. We’ve reached an age where everything is rememberable (I made that word up). My kid’s memory is insane. What is he going to throw in my face when he’s 16? What does he have in his back pocket? What could we have done this past year, experienced or changed that would have shaped him differently?

Good Lord, what have I fucked up?

Parents with small children – enjoy the mulligans while you can. Soon they will be 8 years old and throw in your face that time two years ago when you said we could do that one thing, after that happened – and it’s all happened…

SO WHY AREN’T WE GOING?!

The last few Decembers that have passed I’ve tried to wrap my head around the concept of raising a big kid, rather than a little kid. It’s a really weird transition. I have to tell myself, or my husband looks at me with an, are-you-fucking-serious? look… to allow my totally-capable-kid do his thing – whatever it is. If he succeeds on the first try – great. If it takes him 45 minutes and nothing has been accomplished – okay. If he blows the house up… at least he tried to do it on his own. Life Experiences!

The best difference is instead of helping, teaching and taking pride in watching the light bulb click, I’m sitting back and taking in his pride for being able to do this, that and the other on his own. There is nothing in the world I love more than the smirk my kid gets when he has accomplished something, especially when I wanted nothing more than to either a.) do it myself or, b.) tell him how to do it.

A lot of things have changed in 9 years, thankfully, some of my favorite things things have stuck around. He still wants me to tuck him into bed. He still blows me kisses from across the school field when I drop him off in the morning for school. He still lets me call him any obnoxious nickname I can think of. He still wants me to read to him. He still wants to hang out with me – and that’s awesome. 

Every year has given me a variety of things to feel bittersweet about. At this point, we’re half way to 18 – but I’m not ready to wrap my head around that quite yet. Double digits next year…

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Dear Bennett

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be. -R. Munsch

Year One

Time To Come Home

I was scared crapless, you were not. Lots & lots of crap…more crap than I ever thought humanly possible.

You learned to roll over & I lost all ability to take a long, careless shower.

It wasn’t long after you mastered crawling that you were taking your first steps. Ambitious as ever, you started running & learned quickly that hills can be dangerous when you got that scar on your forehead.

Your first favorite word? Hi. Hi. Hiiiii.

halloween#1HI! 

This is the year I rapidly learned the value of a Friday night in. Before we knew it…you were two.

Year Two

You hated being dirty; this was the cleanest year in the history of you. There was no tolerance in your little body for sticky hands or muddy pants; and for that…I was thankful. [I trained you well].

We had many conversations – mostly silly nonsense that gradually became more & more logical. This is the year your gears started turning & never stopped. The year you started asking why.

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This is the year I rapidly learned the value of curiosity. Before we knew it…you were three.

Year Three

Your independence & your silly began to show this year; constantly on a mission with a giggle.

Your you-ness began to shine. If there was any chance you’d grab someones attention – there was nothing off limits.

Your giggle was infectious and still is, every so often…it’s the same at eight.

Three Year Old Silly

This is the year I rapidly learned the value of slowing down to laugh. Before we knew it…you were four.

Year Four

Your ability to make friends where ever you go was becoming the norm.

Your little heart, always in the right place [you get your people-pleasing gene from your mother].

You certainly were not a baby anymore… and reminded me often my assistance was not needed.

My most favorite photograph of the two of us was taken this year.

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Fun Fact: Dad was behind those yellow flowers – making them all pretty like for us.

This is the year I rapidly learned the value of raising a little boy. Before we knew it…you were five.

Year Five

The very first year of T-Ball…

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Most days, that’s how you felt about it.

As the season progressed you continued to practice & try your best.

By the end of the season – you were more like this…

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This is the year I rapidly learned the value of patience. Before we knew it…you were Six.

Year Six

As a new 6 year old you raised $360.00 for Special Olympics & jumped into a pool of ice water – for a good cause.

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I was proud of you then & I’m still proud of you today.

Later this year… you danced until you dropped at Mom & Dad’s wedding.

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You did a mean ‘robot’.

You stole the show & that was a-okay with us.

This is the year I rapidly learned the value of being a Boggs. Before we knew it…you were Seven.

Year Seven

You were toothless for a while.

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You chatted up the ladies.

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You took selfies.

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You made me flowers for mothers day.10277712_10152470865075452_5530614702072964475_n

You stole my heart…just like you have every other year.

This is the year I rapidly learned the value of life. Before we knew it…you were Eight.

Today… you’re half way to being able to legally drive a car.

Happy Birthday My Love.

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This is the year I will rapidly learn the value of something.

No matter what it is, I’m happy you’re the inspiration behind it.

Love,
Mom


Update: December 8, 2015: Another Year Older.


Year Eight

The beginning of this year had some rough patches, you got it together and showed your ability to overcome less than desirable situations… like changing schools.

first day of 3rd grade

By the time 3rd grade rolled around, you met new friends, rode your bike around the block by yourself for the first time and proved you could officially eat more than me.

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We met Harry, the only other redhead that’s as cool as you are…

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and you were the most awesome Halloween sidekick there ever was…

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This is the year I rapidly learned the value of your individuality. We got a grasp on how to be – and how to raise a big kid. Before we know it… double-digits.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

― Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You!

 

October 17, 2014

The alarm started being obnoxious & the first thought I logically had as a thirty year old woman was…

Shit, I should have taken off work todaywho works on their birthday?

Thankfully, I had a little purple bag of motivation downstairs waiting for me to assist with the ass-out-of-bed operation. My dear friend had given me a birthday present the Friday before…because the bitch went to Florida without me…over my birthday.

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This same girl…packaged up a scheduled massage for October 18th in that purple bag, because she’s amazing – so I forgave her. I woke up to that good news & it was the beginning of a pretty superb day.

Today’s a good day to be Thirty.

Dirty Thirty; I like how that sounds.

My life begins at Thirty.

affirmation a day

Not to get all self-helpy or anything, but if you don’t pep talk yourself with affirmations – you should. Perhaps you think it’s cheesy, or bogus…

Let me get all mom on you quick: Have you tried it?

…At least look into it.

So anyway, since I didn’t take the day off – I ran into work at 7:58am. [This whole driving my kid to school in the morning is really cramping my ‘get-to-work-early’ goals. But… I’m not going to let that bother me.]

I walked into my office with 2 minutes to spare & got slapped in the face with this…

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This picture really doesn’t do it justice…it was well done. I even let out a little squeal…’cause I like surprises & I love confetti. (…And the fact that my office has a cleaning crew that comes on Friday nights.)

The same wonderful friend who decorated my office was also thoughtful enough to include a gift card to my favorite place in the whole wide world…… Taco Bell & [amazingly delicious] chocolate cupcakes.

I think she knows me pretty well or something.

As the day progressed, I kept busy with work tasks & continued my daily affirmations… by 10:00am I had surpassed the want phase & moved onto physically needing a cupcake.

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Try and tell me that doesn’t look like the most delicious thing in the entire world.

I’ve always…since a small child ripped the bottom of cupcakes off so the frosting can fit in my mouth… without me looking like a 1 year old with a smash-cake. Today was no exception. Another friend from work came into my office as I was shoving this delectable morsel into my mouth & gave me a birthday card…

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…Well, that’s fitting. 

If you’re wondering… Yep. It was everything I expected it to be. Happy Birthday To Me…

The only time all day that I really pondered the number thirty itself was when I was trying to figure out what point I decided ‘Thirty’ isn’t old anymore. I have younger co-workers who claim they “can’t believe” I’m thirty…is that a compliment? I’m surely not offended…but thirty is clearly still ‘old’ to them. At least I’m a cool thirty year old?

After I devoured that cupcake – I checked my email. I’m lucky enough to say that I have another friend, still.

She lives in Michigan and we crossed paths in the world of writing. She has become someone very near and dear to me & this lovely lady sent me a totally unexpected gift.

via: itsadoglickbabyworld.com
via: itsadoglickbabyworld.com

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.

Hubert H. Humphrey

Towards the end of the day I thought I’d help out the cleaning crew and pile up the confetti. As soon as I had it all together I had this urge to throw it all over the floor; not to be a bitch…but because I’m so young at heart. [Bahaha]

(No, I didn’t actually do that – I put them in a zip lock bag)

via: openairbigbear.com
via: openairbigbear.com

After work, I walked through the door of my house & heard my kiddo say, “Is she home?!”

He trotted down the stairs with this confident grin that I love & handed me this treasure:

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First, I melted.

Then, I asked him where he heard that saying:

“I didn’t. I drew you a flower…because I always do & flowers bloom. It’s your day today. So, it’s your day to bloom.”

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He follows up that statement with his confident grin turning into a full blown:

Yeah-I-know-I’m-the-best’ smile.

This kid puts Hallmark to shame.

I’m not sure I’d have felt the same way about turning 30, if I didn’t have him reminding me daily how awesome life is. My little red head makes my world go ’round.

Now, I’m sure…you’re all wondering and anxious to hear what the man of my dreams got me for the big 3-0…

Close your eyes and open up your hands…  

As if this birthday couldn’t get any better:

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Some ladies may not appreciate such a gift… those ladies are no friends of mine. My favorite; I obviously love food. Between the Cupcakes, Taco Bell, Taquitos, Birthday Cake & Ice Cream…It’s safe to say I’m kickin’ 30 off to a good start.

I am surrounded by people near and far who really know how to make a girl enjoy her day – for that, I’m thankful.

Maybe I should get on the treadmill tomorrow…I hear your body starts doing weird things after 30. I’m going to go research that…while I eat a salad.

No, I’m not upset about turning 30

There is nothing scary about turning thirty…as long as I’m able to still act and feel 24. [I was initially going to say ‘as long as I still act 22…’ but I was still doing some pretty stupid shit at 22 years old.]

Turning 30 years old is a breakthrough.

I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord, have mercy on my next thirty years.
-Tim McGraw

I managed to survive 1/3 of my life without any real catastrophes. From the time I was born, through the age of 29… not all my decisions were stellar [understatement] but, I mean…

I’ve managed to walk into thirty with only one child being born out of wedlock (pretty proud of that), no drunk driving tickets…hell, I’ve never even been arrested, never contracted any STDs…

via: giphy.com
via: giphy.com

…I’m pretty proud of those accomplishments.

So, now comes 30. I won’t say that I’m happy to leave my 20’s behind, but I’m prepared.

The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old, servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits. Hervey Allen

Slaves to dreams… from 13-24 I was completely oblivious to what I needed; looking for something better, over & over. All the while, I thought I had it all figured out…just like most people that age. It’s quite silly really, to look back … and try to figure out where I saw myself at 30 – then.  It’s certainly not here. But, that’s okay…actually, it’s better than okay – it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.

via: offbeatblackgirl.com
via: offbeatblackgirl.com

30 is not going to suck, it’s just the starting point. The next 2/3 of my life will be filled with new adventures, opportunities, mishaps & happiness; of that I’m sure.

via: http://bethkujawski.blogspot.com/
via: http://bethkujawski.blogspot.com/