Chacos column: Age is a number and birthdays are loaded

Andrea Chacos
Enjoy The Ride

According to the folks who enter the world on Christmas or Valentine’s Day, timing is everything. An end-of-summer birthday isn’t great either, especially when the vibe is back-to-school shopping and Sunday pigskin.

One year, my husband was so busy with a (preseason!) Broncos game, he completely forgot the day I was born. That was the year I unwittingly received the best present ever, learning to be straightforward and clear with birthday expectations. Pretending the day doesn’t matter was clearly not my style. I apparently require a bit of flair.

Since then, I’ve celebrated with Carvel ice-cream cakes and parties, presents and paintball. This year, however, I wanted something different for my birthday, and to my surprise, it hit all the marks. I took a lesson from my mother’s playbook and said, “Please don’t buy me any gifts. I only want to spend time with my family.”

My mom’s declaration always rang hollow to me, and I figured it was just another way to slather on some guilt for birthing selfish children. I shiver thinking about the weekends she forced upon us when we were moody teens who argued and pouted for being required to spend time with family on special days.

Still, all I wanted was a bit of quality time with my husband and children, knowing the responsibility to pull it off rested squarely on my shoulders. I was appalled at my children’s lack of enthusiasm wanting to hang out with their father and me, the ones who brought them into this world. I was even more disgusted that I alternatively didn’t choose a weekend getaway with girlfriends instead.

Per my strongly worded birthday request, we made our way to the kid-friendly hot springs pool, although I secretly wanted the quieter one across town where my body and bathing suit would blend with relative ease. I wasn’t about to push my luck as I finally had everyone piled in the car together, and we were momentarily at peace. I squeezed into my suit, threw some towels in the car, and figured we had only a few hours before the teenage powder keg would blow.

I had to make the most of my gift of time. I laughed through some not-so graceful jumps off the diving board and tubed the not-so-lazy river. I gained another hour by letting the kids buy junk at the snack shack, happily watching from afar as they chided one another, as siblings do. As the magic started to wane, I knew it was time to relinquish the day back to their friends, video games and pretty much everything else that kids would rather do today.

Before we turned out the lights that evening, my husband inquired, “So, are you pleased with your birthday weekend?”

“Yes,” I replied with a smile. I was given everything I needed and all I wanted. “And we could celebrate my 50th with a diamond?” I casually asked as an afterthought. Seed planted, but if not, I still have two years to send a more direct message.

Andrea Chacos lives in Carbondale, balancing work and happily raising three children with her husband. She strives to dodge curveballs life likes to throw with a bit of passion, humor and some flair.

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