I have six kids, all of whom LOVE their birthdays and love to have parties and presents and decorations and have fusses made over them. I love my kids, therefore I do my best to give them attention and parties and things. Well, kinda. If I figure I can get away with a cake and a play-date with the grandparents who take them shopping, I totally go for that instead of inviting a thousand neighborhood kids over. The kids will probably never know how difficult it is for me to plan parties, but I do it because I am glad they were born and I am glad they are here.
I have never been one for celebrating birthdays. It is just not my thing. For many years I would lash out or cry when people even dared mention that it was my birthday. I was fine after midnight, but the week prior to and the day of, it was crazy-fest in my head. I'm still not entirely sure why. For a while in my early thirties I actually tried to celebrate my birthday... and that didn't last long. I think it only lasted a couple of years because I'd scared everyone so badly in all the years prior they didn't dare to say anything. To be fair, it's really awkward and hard for me to accept the attention. It triggers some inner panic and makes me want to run and hide. So I can see why the celebrations never really took off. So I'm trying to relax about things, you know?
|Not my picture, and even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else, it totally matches how I feel about today.|
So today I am 39. And I am attempting to learn some grace about aging. Well, it's not even an age thing. I don't really care what age I am. I usually forget and have to do math anyway, since in my head I still feel like I'm 16. There are women who seem to be years younger than they actually are. My mother-in-law is one of those who is forever young. She's the Jane Fonda of life, constantly fit, constantly beautiful, constantly going going going and doing doing doing. When I have achieved perfection, I hope to be more like her.
But thinking about this whole age thing, I mean, what does this number mean, aside from the fact that I've been on this planet learning non-stop for 39 years. I have 20 more years experience than my oldest child. I have 39 years of making mistakes and offending people and screwing up. BUT on the flip side of that, I have 39 years of exploring, playing, dreaming, drawing, imagining, laughing, loving, writing, and sharing. Am I old? Compared to my 3 year old, yes. My 8 year old uses the term "off the hook!!" for anything she's excited about, and she doesn't even know what an actual telephone even looks like. Every time she says that, I hear that beep-beep-beep we used to hear for busy signals waaaaay back in the day. Am I over the hill? I don't even know what that means. I'm over something...
Now, lucky me, my husband's birthday is not far distant from mine. It's just two days away. So for the past twenty years, we've done our celebrating on his birthday, and his parents and grandparents send everything on his birthday. It's easier for them to remember that way, and less traumatic for me. But I must have done something because for the past couple of years his grandma has only sent him a card. Ah well, such is life, right?
You know, I have no idea what my point was when I started writing this. I know that there are women who get excited and enjoy their special days. I'm not one of them. I don't know if it's because I like to be different? Or if it's some insane cry for attention? Whatever it is, I am still uncomfortable with the whole birthday thing, and I've had a few of them. But it is nice logging onto facebook and seeing all of the birthday wishes there. I think it's an attention thing? I honestly don't know. I let my daughters and the other young women sing to me on Sunday instead of running screaming down the halls, so yay, I'm making progress, right? (Unfortunately that is not an exaggeration. I really have done that when someone mentioned my birthday.)
Aaaannyway, I am grateful for the people who love me enough to call, to make me cakes, and to give me attention anyway. I'm grateful for my oldest daughter who came to spend the day with me just because. I'm grateful for friends and family and loved ones who have put up with my craze freak-fest and are still my friends in spite of all that. I have the best friends ever.