birthday ghosts

Guess what.

It’s only three days until my birthday.

Three days until I turn 33.

Because I am trying to be all celebratory over here in Sluiter Nation, I asked my friend, Kris, who writes the lovely blog,  Pretty All True, if she would like to help me celebrate by doing a Q&A.

Her lovely writing and her ambition to do it every. single. day. inspires the pants off me.

But since Sluiter Nation is all family friendly, I tend to put those pants back on before coming back over here.


What was I talking about?

Oh…right…the Q&A.

So Kris agreed to “interview” me, and I was all excited because she is so witty and great with ideas.

She wrote up this beautiful birthday interview of me for you.  I hope you enjoy my answers.

Pretend that your family and friends have surprised you with a small birthday party at your home…

1) Are you happy with this surprise?

I am thrilled with this!   I have never had a surprise party before…and I LOVE surprises!  I never even search for presents because I just treasure that moment when you open something someone chose for you.  I love that feeling of being on the verge of finding something out.

2) As you look around the room, three people are missing.  Who are they?

My father-in-law is not there.  He is my only family member not present because he died almost 6 years ago from lung cancer.  I miss him more now than I ever did.

Two other people who are probably missing (but that I am using as ONE) are my friends, Phil and Liz.  They live in North Carolina and would probably not be able to afford to take off from their new positions to make the trip to Michigan for just one night.  I sometimes hate that my very best friends live so far away.

If I am honest, my lovely friend Mat is probably not here either.  Mat is Cort’s best friend, but his is Jerry to my Elaine.  Our friendship has always been so special. But he lives in Denver and doesn’t get tons of time off.

3) As you move about the room and greet your guests, two people other than your husband and son reach to hug you and whisper in your ear.  Who are they and what do they say?

My best friend, Tonya would definitely grab me.  If she had been drinking she would tell me how great my chest looks in whatever shirt I am wearing.  If she hadn’t been drinking yet…oh wait….no, she would have definitely had a cosmo or two.

The other person to make sure to get a piece of me would be my best friend, Erin.  She has been living in Montana for the past 4 or so years and has just recently moved to Illinois.  She has gone through a LOT.  She would tell me she loved me.  And comment on my cute butt because she too would have been drinking.

4) Your husband has made the cake and he thinks he has made your favorite.  What sort of cake has he made?  Has he guessed correctly?

Cort would have not made, but bought me a chocolate cake from Meijer.  He would have gotten it spot on.  He knows how I crave their cupcakes because he is awesome.

5) There are two wrapped presents on the table.  One is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and the other might hold a toaster (although it does not).  If everyone in this room has come together to get you the perfect two gifts . . . what is in these boxes?

If everyone chipped in together for these two gifts, it means Cort is the mastermind behind them.

In the tiny box would be a charm for my charm bracelet that Cort and Eddie gave me last year for my first Mother’s Day.  The charm would be something writing-related like a pen.

In the larger box would be plane tickets.  Cort and I have never had a vacation that wasn’t EXTREMELY budgeted.  We have always dreamed of flying away together to some place all-inclusive and warm and lazy.  Cort knows this would be the ultimate surprise, so he would definitely get my friends and our family in on that.

6) Your son approaches you and hands you a scribbled picture he has drawn of you.  Imagine that you can see in this portrait all that you are to your son.  What does your son see in you that you are unable to appreciate about yourself?

If I suspend reality here and imagine that Eddie could draw something about me that I don’t see in myself, it would be his affirmation that I am doing a good job as his mom.

People can tell me this all day long, but I love to hear “I love you, Mom” from him.  I love to have him tell me I am a great mommy.

Because most days, I am not so sure I am…or that he thinks so.

7) The group sings Happy Birthday and you are momentarily transported to another birthday party from your past . . . how old are you in this vision and why has this memory tugged at you?

I am transported back to an unidentifiable age…just “youth”.

We are at my parents’ house on a Sunday afternoon and my mom’s entire side of the family is there:  my aunts and uncles, all my cousins, my brothers, and my Grandma Jo.

We have overindulged in a huge meal with three choices for dessert.  I have opened my presents.  The woman have done the dishes, the men have lounged around watching sports and discussing the upcoming baseball season.

Now we are gathered around the dining room table.  I have my cake with all my candles and my brothers and cousins are squished around me to get in all the pictures and to sing loudly in my ears.

Everyone is there.

I am happy.  I am loved.

This small party reminds me of the simple, but happy birthdays my family has always made sure I had.

8 ) Before you lean to blow out your candles, you speak to thank everyone in the room.  You thank them for this party and for all that they bring to your life.  You then take a moment to express special gratitude to someone you believe does not know how important he or she is to you.  Who is that person?  What would you like to say?

I really wouldn’t be able to choose just one person.  I think everyone knows they are important to me.  Especially if they are there.  At a small party for me.  They know they are the special ones.  But if I was saying thank you to people, I would make sure to thank my mother-in-law.  I am not sure she knows how much it means to me that she reads my words.

9) As you blow out the candles, you make a wish for the coming year that you have the ability to make come true.  What is that wish?

I have many wishes that are completely attainable if I were to take some risks.

One is that I become a published writer.

There I said it.

I wish to be published.

10) You also make a wish for something over which you have little or no control.  What is that wish?

A better person would take this wish and give it to World Peace or Feeding the Hungry.

But I am selfish on my birthday.

And I wish for our family’s entire economical situation to improve.  I wish for my job to be more stable and for Cort to make more.  I wish for us to not be afraid of a car dying or about whether or not we should buy ourselves something fun every now and then.

I know money doesn’t bring happiness, but it does bring security.  And I wish we could finally find that.

11) Finally . . . after the guests have gone home . . . your husband guides you into the bedroom.  On the nightstand, he has left a poem he feels captures the journey you have made as a couple this past year.  He has gotten it exactly right.  What is the poem?

Instead of a poem, Cort would leave me song lyrics.  And I am fairly certain they would be Pearl Jam lyrics.

I wished for so long…
I cannot stay
All the precious moments…
Cannot stay
Its not like wings have fallen…
I cannot say
Still something is missing…
I cannot say

Holding hands of daughters and sons
In their phase theyre falling down
Down, down, down

I have wished for so long…
How I wish for you again

Will I walk the long road?
I cannot stay
Theres no need to say goodbye

Oh, the friends and family…
All the memories going round
Round, round round…

I have wished for so long…
How I wished for you today

And the wind keeps rollin
And the sky keeps turning grey
And the sun is set
The sun will rise another day

I have wished for so long…
How I wish for you today

I have wished for so long…
How I wish for you today
Will I walk the long road?
We all walk the long road

This song has history for us.  And we have walked the long road.  Together.
And if this was my only birthday gift?
I would be more than ok with that.

Happy Birthday, Katie.

Thanks, Kris.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Awe, got goosebumps at the end; lovely!

  2. Sometimes I read both of your blogs and I have to fight back tears…but put you both together? Tears are inevitable. Love you both.

    Happy Birthday friend.

  3. This is beautiful.
    I am weepy.

  4. This is such a lovely interview! I hope you print this out and save it somewhere special for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren to read someday.

  5. How awesome! Great interview 🙂

  6. This is just so very beautiful!

  7. Yesterday I tried to explain to someone the benefit of having a blog.
    I talked to her about keeping a memory of your life, or even just a journal for your children.
    And here. Right here.
    This is what it should be.
    How lovely to have words like these to look back on.
    And when two such fabulous writers get together … bliss 🙂

    Early Happy, Happy to you Katie, I hope that all of your dreams come true xxx

  8. Katie?

    You did an awesome job answering the questions. I told you when I gave them to you that the questions mattered less than what you were willing to invest in answering them. Thank you for responding to the questions in such beautiful fashion.

    Happy sighs at this post.


  9. Happy birthday! And I live in North Carolina. Want me to tell Phil and Liz hi for you? I loved this post. I wish you peace and contentment and prosperity next year. I’m a teacher’s kid x 2 (both my parents taught) and I remember the budget crunch very well. Just remember how rich in love you are, and rich in talen, and rich and fabulous bloggy friends, and obviously (apprently) rich in a nice chest and ass…. : ) Be well! Amy

  10. opps *talent*

  11. This is relly, really great.I too felt goosebumps throughout. I love the questions and the answers especially because they give such an insight into you. I can tell your birthday will be a great one because it sounds like you have such a great bunch of people around you who support you, but I’m going to wish you a have a really great birthday anyway!

  12. This made me all sniffy and stuff. What thought provoking and very deep questions. Must go hug something cute. Where’s my damn kid…

  13. What a great post, it really was quite lovely. Happy b’day..

  14. What a fantastic idea with such thoughtful follow through! So lovely to learn more about you in this way.