Today was my dad’s birthday, and I was ready. I love holidays, and my general reaction to a birthday, at least since I got old enough to be able to use a stove, is to wake up early and make the birthday girl/boy a special breakfast.
Considering the fact that I usually get up at ten (homeschool FTW), waking up at six thirty to make some french toast is a goddamn gift in and of itself.
Which is what I did. My dad’s favorite food is French toast, so I fried up some triangles of toast, carefully arranged it, applied a few thin squares of butter, drizzled blueberries on top and poured syrup in a zig-zag pattern on top. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any powdered sugar, but it was still absolutely gorgeous, if I do say so myself. And it tasted good, too, which was not always a guarantee with previous birthday breakfasts.
My other gift to him was a meticulous drawing of my dad as a knight, and since my art skills have improved almost as much as my breakfast skills, it was pretty good. Definitely recognizable, at least.
Jade got him a foot massager and Ender panicked because he’d forgotten to get Dad a present until Dad calmed him down and said he didn’t have to give him a present. I’m about ninety percent sure Spawn thought it was his birthday, because Dad was holding him when we sang Happy Birthday and after that he got cake and was insufferable.
Much better than some other birthdays.
For example, there was that one birthday, my mom’s, where me and Jade got up early– just us little sprigs ages seven and nine, and Jade decided she wanted to be in charge of making the green smoothie, and I decided to make scrambled eggs.
(Quick definition: A green smoothie is like your normal everyday smoothie but with spinach and kale and other leafy greens tossed in to make it more healthy and filling. It’s gross. Mom says it’s an acquired taste, but is a taste I do not want to acquire.)
Now, all cute lil seven year old Jade knows about green smoothies is that Mommy puts spinach and bananas in it, and she doesn’t know what else. I was singularly unhelpful, because I was busy trying to figure out what was going wrong with my scrambled eggs. (I didn’t put any oil in the pan, didn’t push the eggs around enough, and then accidentally spilled half of the eggs across the stovetop. I was not having a good morning.) “Just put some random leaves in it, it’ll still taste the same,” I said, sarcastically.
Jade took my words at face value, and happily trotted outside to pull some leaves from the tree in our backyard, along with some sprigs from potted herbs and some grass, all of which she tossed in the blender. After that, she pulled out some ancient arugula from the back of the fridge, added a few whole strawberries (Leafy tops included), and blended it.
She didn’t blend it enough, either, so it was chunky and swamp-colored and icky. I plated my least-scorched batch of eggs, and we trotted into our parents’ room to deliver the breakfast.
Mom’s smile faltered a bit at the sight of Jade’s poisonous brew, and Dad courageously offered to poison test it. He turned it into a joke, so Jade would giggle instead of being embarrassed or sad, and took a sip. He put the glass down, carefully, ran to the sink, and spat it out, swearing in a carefully censored way.
Mom took a bite of my scorched eggs, forced a smile, and I said, glumly,
“It’s awful, I know, but the other ones were worse.”
So we threw it all away and went out for breakfast.
I have improved immensely since then, as you can imagine, but I still wake up early with the same sense of cheerful enthusiasm that, near the end of the day, winds down to grumpy exhaustion.