Needless to say, this backfired. I created a lot of chaos by not answering the numerous calls. My kids thought I was sick in the hospital and didn't tell them, and my mom freaked out, thought someone hit my car and assumed I was in a ditch off the 405 freeway. My husband, who knows me better than anyone, knew I was having a difficult day and chose to make the wise decision to just let me ride this one out.
So, I buried myself in my work, but not even that provided a safe haven from the celebrations. I was forced to deal with the fact that it was indeed my birthday when my colleagues at the office surprised me with a beautiful cake and a rousing rendition of the "Happy Birthday" song.
It didn't stop there. My daughters, Alex and Arianna, decided that they wanted to throw me a birthday party and knew instinctively that I wasn't going to have anything to do with a celebration. The day after my birthday, Alex simply just picked up the phone and said: "Mom, we know and understand that you probably don't want to do anything for your birthday but Arianna and I are giving you a party next weekend to celebrate this important one. We are doing all of the cooking, have a menu planned and we've invited the girlfriends in your life we know you love—and they all have accepted!"
My instinct was to say: "What? No, no, no!" But after hearing in her voice how excited she was about putting this evening together with her sister, all I could do was smile.
Alex recited the menu, and I was quite impressed:
Grilled Baby Eggplant with Roasted Tomatoes and Feta with Basil Oil
Penne Pasta with Fresh Roma Tomato Sauce and Parmesan Cheese Curls
Soy-Glazed Sea Bass with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and Cucumber Vinaigrette
Wild Arugula Salad with Panko-Crusted Goat Cheese and Olive Oil and Lemon Dressing
Arianna's Famous Cheesecake with Fresh Berries
Wow. I thought that was very ambitious, especially since they've never cooked for so many people. Right away, I started to put in my two cents, only to be cut off immediately and told there was no way I was to go near the kitchen. I was to sit back, talk with my friends, drink in the evening and not worry when to throw the pasta down!
How did Cristina's birthday party turn out?