My husband hates hearing of Christmas at any time other than December. I on the other hand love the Christmas spirit. I love the warmth of it all. I love that people think of others then. Yup I am a sap.
It’s been one hell of a couple of weeks. Physically, emotionally, mentally it’s been rugged. A lot of it is just how it is. It’s health . It’s chronic progress conditions (diseases sound so sick). It’s those little hic cups in life. It’s the bigger ones. It’s adjusting, accepting , and fighting for an inch. In some ways, it’s resignation. It’s remembering a past that is that past. One of the things about the past is that it IS past. It’s behind us. It’s been left there, put there. We’ve left it there. It’s kept itself there in some cases. It’s been lived. Time moves us ahead. But there are always those triggers that call us back to memories, to feelings. Now some (usually guys for whatever reasons) claim that they do not have memories churned up from songs- but most- especially women and men who aren’t afraid to admit it, do. Times of year take all of us back to another time. Birthdays are one of those times- especially as years go on. I remember few of my birthdays over time. Seriously few in all my lifetime. From my childhood I remember the tradition of cake and ice cream and a gift or two. As an adult I honestly don’t remember my birthdays. I remember when married to my second husband that his mom would make her chicken dinner for Sunday dinner closest to my birthday. She always has nurtured any and all who enter her heart and home.
I remember the birthday when my present husband got me a rescued greyhound…she would become more bonded with my husband- dogs pick their people. After our oldest greyhound died, she took over caring for my husband as the first one did, Really quite sweet of that dog.
I remember my 16th birthday as I broke up with a sweet funny Greek god handsome humble intelligent athletic really funny guy whose former girlfriend was broken hearted and wanted him back. I knew I was no match for her so I bowed out. (Changed my mind and got my esteem up enough to go to see him that night with the intention of explaining and hoping he’d understand but upon going there, found out they were out together. ) Never told him. It was also the one time in my life when friends were invited for cake and ice cream at our home- a few of my close friends. It was a bittersweet thing that day. The 16 yr excitement was not the thrill so many seem to feel then. But later I realized it was much more realistic. I had done probably the best most selfless thing at that time- even if misguided by thinking I was not up to the challenge- but also felt he was no doubt happier with her. She was prettier. more popular. family had more money. funnier person. She was a cheerleader for heaven sake.hahaha But I digress- a lot.
I remember the birthday the year my mom died when my sister came to my place with a couple of things mom had put aside for me with a 2 sentence note in mom’s handwriting. It was the most touching birthday gift in all my lifetime. I hadn’t been able to truly mourn until later that night- when I allowed myself to do so, to let it go.
Of course before that I remember years before being pregnant with my first born, my son. All I remember was feeling him moving around inside of me and thinking there could be nothing better than feeling this life inside of me.
This year I feel closer to the ending than I ever have on my birthday. I have outlived my dad by 7 years so far. I intend to live healthily (functionally) for a lot of years ahead. Of course I also thought I’d live out my life being one of those ancient nurses who was working long into her beyond retirement years (okay partly because I SO mismanaged my finances over the years- 2 divorces and wanting to prove to my kids that I could handle this took its toll- advancing ms was what wiped out the last of my savings. Oh and falling for a scam here and there). Anyway… I look back at my parents on my birthday. I remember what they taught me. I think of how I failed us both over the years- long past when they were alive and ever knew. But I knew. It’s an ongoing process of forgiving myself for me. But as I have this birthday I immerse myself in today- giving myself permission to let go of beating myself up for my many imperfections and wrong decisions in my life. You know I always try to teach that gifts of the heart mean more than gifts of the pocket. And this year I realize the one person who can and ought to give me a gift no one else can is myself. I have carried around this pain, this ache, this disappointment in myself for far too long. I have told my kids before that they are responsible for their own happiness, not their parents, their teachers, their employers or employees, not their bank accounts, not their children or their pets. ANd I have denied myself the freedom from my own judgment and punishment. I want to say it ends here. But I know it will be an ongoing process.
But the assumption of the fallout from it all has been accepted. And now it’s time to learn from it and release it. Happy birthday me.