Right around my 10th birthday, I was obsessed with the following: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the Bryan Adams song from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, perms, puppies, Blossom, The Traveling Wilburys, trampolines, and the beautiful thought that I soon be the owner of a pair of rollerblades.
I had told all of the cool girls from school that I was getting rollerblades for my birthday and they had agreed that if I had rollerblades, I would finally be able to join their rollerblading posse. They all had really cool nicknames like Bo and Flo and Jo and, if I got in to the group, they would give me my very own nickname (Ho?) and we would rule the neighborhood.
The Dream of My Life:
On the morning of my 10th birthday, my mother walked into my room carrying a very large box.
I was so, SO excited that she had obviously gotten me the rollerblades I had been asking for all year.
I shredded the wrapping paper in a delirious fit of delight as my mom happily watched, perhaps slightly scared of my enthusiasm.
The moment of truth arrived as I lifted the box open.
And there it was…
A pink bathrobe.
I looked at my mother with the sort of serious disappointment one has when their life’s dreams are beaten down until barely recognizable and then murdered.
Like this, except although I was awkward looking as a child, I was still a human:
“Thank you,” I said to my mom, desperately trying to hide my heartbreak and suppressing the cry lump that was rising in my throat. Clearly my mother was intent on ruining my entire childhood.
I didn’t complain because when someone gives you a gift, you pretend you like it, no matter what. Even when you are expecting rollerblades and you get a really stupid, ugly, pink grandma robe.
The worst part about this was I now had to tell my friends who I had bragged to that I was going to have the coolest rollerblades in town, that I hadn’t gotten the rollerblades.
Upon hearing the news, those bitches swiftly kicked me out of the rollerblading club and I spent the summer riding my old, ugly bike.
I also fell off my bike that summer and still have an inch-long scar on my upper thigh from where the pedal cut me. I’m not saying this would’ve been avoided had I gotten rollerblades, but probably.
For months, every time I saw that pale pink bathrobe hanging on the back of my door, I cringed and secretly planned how I could light it on fire in my bathtub and then collect the ashes and leave them wrapped in a nice box for my mom as a present. I never did this, because I’m mostly only psychotic in thought, not action.
I avoided bathrobes for most of my adolescence and early 20s because of this event. I only recently bought one because when I first moved to Rome, I lived with a strange, hairy Romanian philosopher who would stare at me when I ran from the bathroom to my bedroom in a towel.
My 10th birthday taught me important life lessons. One should never expect anything! It seems the minute you start thinking “I’m the Rollarblading Queen of the World!!!” something will happen to remind you that you are, in fact, a pink-bathrobe-wearing plebeian.
In retrospect, being denied entrance into the cool kids club due to lack of rollerblades was probably for the best. Humiliation, disappointment and having your childhood dreams squashed builds character like nothing else can.
*Also, my mom bought me rollarblades the next year and I used them for two months before retiring them to the garage for good. I was a terrible child and she is actually the world’s greatest mother.