I’m a summer baby, so I was home from college on my birthday every year. My 21st birthday was on a Wednesday, which meant it was during the work week. During college, I worked for my dad in the summertime, and we were staying in the apartment above his office that year.
For my 21st birthday, my dad took me out and bought me a really good camera. Considering how much I love taking pictures, it was a very appropriate and much appreciated gift! We also went for a nice steak dinner, which I really enjoyed. At one point, he apologized for not taking me out for drinks. I told him it was ok, especially since I had been having stomach problems. I reminded him that I couldn’t have alcohol even if I had wanted it because of the prescription I was taking. I had to wake up early to go to work (for my dad) the next morning, too, so drinking probably wouldn’t have been a good idea. I was also uncomfortable about the idea of drinking with a parent anyway! Going out to a bar for my 21st birthday was never a goal of mine. I honestly wasn’t a “bar person”, and still am not (I’ve only been to bars maybe 5 times my entire life, and have no plans to go to another one). I thought it was very sweet of him to mention it, though.
Later, we went home. At one point, I went into the bathroom to get ready for bed. When I came out, he had a final surprise for me. There was a problem with the stove, so all we had was a microwave in the kitchen at that time. Somehow, my dad found a way to get a microwave cake mix without me noticing, which was strange since we worked together all day and were around each other every evening. At some point, he had cooked and frosted the cake (again, I’m not sure how I hadn’t noticed, and can’t figure out where he had been hiding it). It was the perfect size for two people! He must have realized at the last minute that he didn’t have any candles, so he sliced up a banana. He carved “21” in one slice, and a smiley face in another, and put them on the cake. It was the best cake I ever had! It wasn’t the actual cake as much as the situation. I could tell my dad did everything he could to make my birthday special, which was the best part of the entire day. It truly was a very special birthday for me.
I recently thought I had lost the picture he took of me, in my nightgown, holding the cake and smiling. It was a very special photo for me because of the memories behind it, especially since my dad died last year. I looked all over for the picture, and was very upset because I thought maybe I had lost it when I took my photo album to my grandma’s house back in January. I was worried it had fallen out and was lost forever. I called my grandma’s house and asked my uncle if anyone had found the picture. I offered my husband and kids a $100 reward if they found it. We scoured the house right away, and kept looking for it every so often, but I was afraid it was a wasted effort. I even started scanning all of my other old photos in case I ever lost another one.
I’m extremely happy to announce that my husband actually found that picture recently, more than nine months after it went missing. I made sure to scan it right away! (By the way, my husband refused the reward – he was just happy to make me happy)
I was so happy to have that picture back, and that’s why I wanted to share it – and this story – with others. That picture represents a cherished memory, and I will always have it now as a reminder of that very special day, and my very special Dad.