Mom's thirtieth birthday. It's the first birthday of hers that I remember. When Mom was thirty, she had a nine year-old and an eight year-old. I am thirty and I have running shoes. She bought clothes at the GAP and listened to the top-40 radio stations. I think if we were thirty at the same time, we would have been friends.

At Mom's thirtieth birthday Dad was blushing with excitement, so Marc and I did too, but we didn't know what was exciting. Dad said to Mom, "Stay in the bedroom." Then the three of us went downstairs and Dad constructed a piano out of cardboard and we covered it with whipped cream. Mom loved whipped cream. Dad bought her a real piano.

We burst in the bedroom and yelled "Surprise!" and Mom looked happy. Maybe the happiest I've ever seen her look.

Later, Mom told me, "That was the cheapest, ugliest piano I've ever seen."

She told me that when I was nearing thirty, after I told her I was scared. Scared I wouldn't get everything I wanted. I never thought I'd be where I am now. I thought I'd have kids and a house like she did when she was thirty. I said, "Remember that whipped-cream piano?"

She said Dad bought her the piano because he bought himself a boat and he felt guilty.

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