I’m looking at the calendar with mixed emotions. My birthday is fast approaching. It isn’t here yet, but Good Lord willing it will be here soon. Still though, my head and my heart are conflicted. I haven’t looked forward with any real excitement about my birthday in five years now. That being said, the following is a moment of wandering about my thoughts on what is approaching.
Its an odd thing, when you allow emotions to steal from you. Birthdays are supposed to be special. A celebration times two. Recognizing the individual who gave you life, and acknowledging that you’ve made it another year.
I’m going to make a side note here. I do realize that there are people out there who are not anything close to being decent parents much less good. Making it so that life may be a struggle on many levels. I know there are those who give their children up for adoption. That in itself creating the possibility of confusion and difficulties. Life is not a Hallmark movie where the bumps are mild and the ending joyful. But we have been given life, it is our choice how we face what comes.
Over forty years ago, there was a time when I didn’t know if I would see my next birthday, much less the one fast approaching. God had plans for me though so here I am, on the fast track to sixty-five. One of those milestone moments. I now have medicare insurance. I can once again go to the doctor for all those things one goes to the doctor for without the brain numbing fear of cost. But, I have no celebrations planned. I haven’t even reminded my son. If he remembers that’s good. If he doesn’t and the day slides by unrecognized, that is okay as well.
The reason I face this with mixed emotions, back a little over five years ago, I wanted a big blow out for my sixtieth birthday. I wanted a celebration. I wanted my husband to make sure he was home on that date and that our extended family could be present. I wanted cake and candles and party stuff. I wanted a backyard cookout with family filling the yard to overflowing. No presents, just presence. But then, my husband died in March and with the exception of birthday wishes on social media and my son’s acknowledgement, most let it pass quietly. One doesn’t have a mindset of celebration and grieving at the same time. My heart was no longer in it even as there was also anger. Not so much that I was missing a desired celebration, but that he had left me. Not by choice, it was simply his time.
While I am grateful to still be here, walking this earth, doing what I hope is at least part of my reason for being, I fluctuate between guilt and envy of my husband and brother who have moved on to their Heavenly home. Envy because they no longer have to deal with the storms and frustrations of this life. Even as we miss them terribly. Guilt because I am still celebrating earthly birthdays, still here with my parents and family. Still doing all the things they can no longer do, even as I recognize they themselves don’t miss this existence.
While I am in part a quiet person, mostly content to live a quiet life, I will admit to the jealousy of seeing people enjoying celebrations on their day. Friends who acknowledge and go all out to make that day amazing and special. But they work, and have a much more active social life. One has to get out among people to make and be, the kind of friends that show the love. The jealousy I feel, is fleeting and I am happy for those who do have those connections. But yes, there is that part of me and my reclusive self, that longs for friends such as that. Because they are a better gift than anything bought in a store.
My son has to work on my birthday so I’m not sure what I will do, if anything. I know my mother will call me with birthday wishes. I know there will be those on social media who acknowledge the day. But my conflicted self doesn’t want to sit here stewing in self pity and lost opportunities. But, I have a few days yet to figure something out.
I don’t hate my birthdays. I don’t dislike the passage of time. I see each one as a celebration of another year of lessons learned. Whether others acknowledge or not, I can stand strong in the understanding of storms and troubles endured. I can stand in the knowledge of what I have learned with the passing of every day. I can fill how I have grown, and where I need to make improvements. Every day, not just the one, is a gift. Every day, should be celebrated for the opportunities they bring to make and be a difference for those around us. While the big kid in me wishes and dreams of outlandish celebrations, the responsible side recognizes the real celebration and recognition of gifts, is that sunrise and sunset every single day.