My son has a book that he adores The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli. It’s a great story about a little baby (gender undetermined) who is all excited about getting a box for his/her birthday. Inside the box is a puppy. It’s a nice, gentle story and makes birthdays, even not super exciting ones, seem good.
Today, however, is my real, actual birthday. Not that you would know this by anything that’s going on, but it is. And not only is it my birthday, it’s a milestone birthday. Today, I am 40. I am not upset by this or distressed or anything. I don’t feel like I’ve just crossed some imaginary line that means I will never be what I was or anything.
I had big plans for my birthday. After years of not taking my birthday very seriously, I decided that this year I was going to do what I wanted to do. What I wanted to do was go out with some of my friends, minus my children, then take the kids to Safari Nights at our zoo, and finally, go out to dinner with my husband — by ourselves.
Unfortunately, none of that is going to happen. The immediate reasons involve a health crisis for my mother-in-law which has put my husband in some very difficult situations in the last few days.
I’m not upset about it and I’m thankful that I didn’t let myself get too excited about the plan, but I’m honestly not sure how much more we can take as a family without cracking a bit.
I don’t really even have much else to say right now. Just that we’re very stressed and no part of this is easy. Every time we think we’re out of the woods, something else happens. It would be unbelievable if I heard someone telling the story of the last five days, and I just cannot believe that I’m living it.
On the day you were born, Beth, I worked all day. I oversaw the executive dining room at Ford Aerospace where dignitaries and upper management came for lunch. They served themselves from the steam table–goodies like beef bourguignon, cheese strata, and clam chowder. I brought them coffee and hot fudge sundaes. Today we definitively would have had clam chowder and fried fish.
Hurricane Camille was sucking up energy to rip through the east, wrecking the festival at Woodstock. There was chaos.
In retrospect, is this day not usually one of chaos? And, it is chaos that has taken all of us from Fordism and Fish Fridays. Mythologically, it is from within chaos that creation is made possible.
Something tangible arises, something inert that we can touch and turn over in our hands, comes out of chaos. It will be later when the goddess of memory, Mnemosyne, tells you to bring out the tangible–the memories of this day–so you can see the creation out of this chaos.
You will simply need to schedule a make-up birthday… or two… later this year.
Best birthday wishes!
I’m definitely going to have to think about it.
Thanks for the good wishes :).
That is the good part about being a grownup, you can postpone birthday celebrations to another calmer time.
Following the thread of the day you were born, I was NOT going to woodstock because my mother said NO. Some hippie I was, mom said no, i couldn’t go…
That summer, they walked on the moon, it rained all the time, my dad got me Jets tickets and I learned from him that a true quarterback sneak was Joe Namath leaving before the game was over….
and.. you’ll be surprised at how much your family can take without cracking…. very surprised
and you can celebrate that too at the postponed birthday.
I hope I am. P and I are both very on edge and it’s not working as well as we might like.
I’m with those that vote for re-positioning your birthday this year 🙂 If I lived closer, I woulda come over and cooked you anything you wanted!
Happy belated birthday! And I hope things are already calming down for you and that you get to celebrate in style when the waters are smoother.
Smooth is apparently not in our vocabulary yet, but I’m hopeful that things are going to be brighter soon.