On June 24th I stopped by Arjewtino’s blog for my regular helping of his unique heeby wisdom (I do so love my people!). I was not disappointed – an ironic birthday celebration was in full swing. And I do love irony. So with a tip of the birthday hat to the master …
My Birthday is on the way here. In spite of my refusal to even think of the numbers 8 and 13 and 55, those self same numbers even now are arranging themselves for presentation at approximately 9:35AM. The 55 is especially troublesome. It does not seem to be the hippest number at the party. No savant am I, but to me this number looks a tad lumpy and gray; if I put on my rose colored glasses it takes a somewhat more pleasing form, but still, it is far from a beauty.
It wasn’t always this way. I can remember a time when 8 and 13 frolicked happily with 5 paired with various other numbers. Everything was new and fresh (including my skin which let me tell you was flawless).
There were years of balloons and song, frosted confections with delicate (yet large) pink roses. There were first bicycles and first kisses and first cars. There was a green record player that coincided with one first kiss that played McArthur Park over and over again while I tended a first heart ache. A heartache that paled in comparison to the pain I felt November of that same year when I lost my father.
I learned then what I know now all to well – life doesn’t stop. At some point the pain eases and you just get up and start living again. Our thirst for life is relentless and 8 and 13 knew it way back then. We rolled on.
Soon that little party and the green record player were but a faded memory and we jumped headlong into adulthood. Just past the magic 18, no longer content with birthday cake, 8 and 13 rushed to taste wedding cake only to spend 24 as a baby divorcee, drunk for the very first time, crying at the party.
You know the song – It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to …
And I did.
Not 8 and 13 though – they were invincible. Moving on and gathering steam they decided they had no time for tears. There were degrees to get, marriages to make and babies to have. They sped through the rock n’ roll years recklessly, joyously, and filled them in equal measure with joy and heartbreak.
Tough as they were though, they couldn’t outrun every trouble. There were years without parties and plenty of tears and broken dreams. As the song goes “that’s life” and it sure was.
After a hard fall 8 and 13 partied a whole lot less but still set out a great table. The players changed but there were by now two constant companions, Eric and Jacob. It seemed only natural and right that the boys take front and center and 8 and 13 were happy to oblige. So was I.
The table is both more and less crowded now – if that makes sense. Jacob brings a family and 8 and 13 share with a certain Ev the right to party with 16. Eric is often on the run and ready to charge out the door. My first party planner is fading away, very fragile and won’t be with me and 8 and 13 later today because I am sick. So tonight’s party, much like my life, will not be what I planned, but I will celebrate getting to 55, alive and intact.
This post is dedicated to my mom, who even before dementia set in used to send me cards captioned “To my good friend” and to my sons Jacob and Eric, who when I turned 50 presented the cake that appears below. We are dysfunctional, crazy, funny, smart, kind and a family in all its messy glory. I am grateful and I am so blessed.
Dear internets – this birthday if you are inclined to give a gift – please consider doing so to Lisa @Clusterfook who is going through her third battle with cancer or my neighbor Gary Balogh who, as I write this, is gravely ill and awaiting a stem cell transplant for Birkett’s lymphoma.
As for me, for my birthday I want a new, shiny job with benefits – ribbon not required. If you know of an organization that needs someone with my awesome skill set, feel free to email me.