Sunday, January 18, 2009

thoughts on b'days when ur past the half century mark

so yesterday was my birthday and i turned um yeah -- 53 -- and someone reminded me that that's more than half a century and i'm like yeah u can leave now.... its not that i mind getting older, i just don't need to be reminded of it -- coz i already know it -- like when i roll over in bed and try to get comfortable and realize there is no comfortable anymore in bed. and really, in my view its just another day.

i'm a january baby and we tend to get short-shrifted in the present dept. like the december babies. but for me it was never about the presents. evidently i was born in the middle of a snow storm. my dad (a music educator at the high school) was having a meeting with students and parents at the house and my mom went into labor. not being the type to make a fuss, she waited till the meeting was over to tell my dad she was in labor. their first attempt to make it to the hospital in the snowstorm was thwarted and they had to take another route. the only way they knew where the road was was because of the telephone poles. good thing she was in labor for 18 hours -- gave them lots of time to get to the hospital. idk if she was awake or not because in those days -- they tended to knock women out with drugs during delivery. she wasn't awake for my brother's birth, but whether she awake for mine or not, idk. but i do know that my father was not present in the room when i was born -- fathers were NOT allowed to be present during the birth of their children.

when i was younger, i would tell my mom on my birthday how much i loved her and thank her for giving birth to me. even when i moved away from her home, i would call her on my birthday. some ppl would say that was odd -- i think it was appropriate considering all she did for me. that first year after she died was really hard for me -- the holidays without her were miserable, but when my birthday came around and i realized i couldn't call her with my usual message of love and gratitude, it was particularly hard.

i had two "parties" on my birthday growing up. one when i turned five (which we have silent movies of because that was BEFORE video cameras with sound) and one when i turned 16. my 16th b'day party wasn't anything like the ones u hear about nowadays. i think there were like 6 ppl there (including my then boyfriend and my best friend Patty who would eventually become my boyfriend's girlfriend -- we won't even go there). we have pictures. its not pretty (think early 70's and hippie clothing). when i turned 21 it was not a big deal and i didn't even go out and drink -- like most ppl do -- i wasn't into that stuff.

somewhere along the line, b'days became just another day. i can't quite put my finger on when it happened, but i was pretty much ok with it. i never liked ppl making a fuss over me anyhow, so it was just as well to try and ignore the birthdays. it wasn't that i was trying to stop time or turn back the clocks, although sometimes i would have liked a "do-over". i just didn't want the attention.

several years ago on my birthday i was having a bad time of it. my marriage was falling apart and life just generally seemed like the pits. i was doing laundry because it was "just another day". it was really cold outside and i didn't know that the drain pipe to the washing machine was frozen, so when the washer started to drain, water went flying out all over the place until i could get to it to get it stopped. i had to call the person who managed the apt. bldg. we were living in. he came out and took a blow torch to the pipe -- which was plastic (u could smell the melting plastic). unfortunately, he also tried to burn down the building because he set the fluff from the dryer on fire. i wasn't able to use my washer for a while until they could get someone out to replace the drain pipe that he melted. with two children in the house, that's not a good thing. i basically sat and cried and said it was the worst birthday i'd ever had. it was probably right around then that i resolved i was going to completely ignore my b'days.

i always made a big deal about my kids' b'days. i would always try to have a few friends over for them and do the whole cake and games thing for them. they had friends who had big deal parties, but my kids had to contend with smaller scale just because we couldn't afford to do a whole lot. i learned how to be really creative and stretch a dollar while still allowing the kids to have a good time. but there was one b'day for my daughter that was particularly bad and i won't go into the details suffice to say that it was controlled by one of her teachers at school and not by me and thus made for a bad time (she says) for her.

when i got divorced my daughter and i moved into our current abode a week or so before her b'day, which is three days before mine. she wanted a sleep over so i basically busted butt to make sure there was enough sleeping space amid boxes for the girls she invited. sometime in the middle of the night the freezer door got left open and all the food in the freezer thawed. i had to throw out a bunch of stuff and with no money to buy more i figured it was gonna be a pretty miserable month. actually, friends came to the rescue and it was all good. but my daughter basically told me that her birthdays were always miserable (and evidently that was all my fault). ever since then i've tried really hard to make them happy events, but she always manages to find something wrong with them. i have resigned myself to the fact that i'll never meet her expectations when it comes to making them happy for her.

at what point does it matter how many b'days we have. i mean they tout in the news the ppl who survive over 100 -- although even that doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore -- now its if u live to be 110. i think about what god wanted for us when he created man. that we would never know sin and never die. ppl lived hundreds of years. but our world just got more and more corrupt and as it did, our longevity went down the tubes. now we're content with 70, 80, or 90 years of life.

my dad used to say that living another year sure beat the alternative (death) -- he's turning 83 this year and can sometimes be a cantankerous old man. but i used to think (and still sometimes do) that dying wouldn't be so bad because i'd get to go be with papa god.

honestly, even with all the junk in my life, i have liked getting older and hopefully wiser. but i realize that things rn't like they used to be and never will be again. families don't live together for generations anymore and the youth don't learn -- or want to learn from their elders -- most of the time there isn't even any respect for their elders and y should there be when most of the time their parents can't be bothered with them for want of fulfilling their own needs. what i have to look forward to is being cantankerous like my dad, or worse yet, incapacitated in some way, unable to care for myself and not knowing who i am or where i am (like my grandma and grandfather were), possibly being subjected to abuse in some facility because my family can't be bothered with me (oh that's subject for another blog some day). my dad says that if he ever gets to the place where he can't take care of himself he's going to shoot himself -- i think he won't be able to if he can't even take care of himself, but w/e. let him live with the idea that he will control his demise if that keeps him happy. sometimes i think that my mom was blessed because she didn't have to suffer with some awful illness, she didn't have to know what it felt like to be incapacitated in any way and she got to be with papa god -- something i know she was looking forward to. but she missed out on getting to see her grandkids and be a part of their lives. that perhaps is one thing i will be sad about -- not seeing the next generations come into the world or seeing them develop.

i've seen a lot of changes in the world -- some good -- some not so good -- and i know that it probably will only get worse before jesus comes for his bride. ppl r rude to each other -- even when they r in the wrong -- there is no sense of value anymore -- we've become a throw-away society -- if it doesn't work, get rid of it -- even with our own families it seems. there is very little attempt on the most part to try and get along with each other -- find some common ground where we can stand side by side with each other and make things work for the common good. if it doesn't work, don't fix it, just throw it away. i'm as guilty as the next guy of that sometimes.

the only thing that birthdays do for me now, r to make me look at where i have been and where i am and wonder where papa god is going to take me before he takes me home. it's not exactly the kind of "celebration" that requires cake and partying....


Christie Cottage said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post on birthdays. I remember 2 childhood parties. One at age 6. One at age 12. The age 6 party was with the neighborhood kids. We had it in the Spring after my February birthday so we could play "messy" games.

I remember my 12th birthday party the best. It was fun :-)

So as my birthday rolls around on 2/17, I expect a phone call from my mother & my younger sister. That's who will remember, oh yes and me...I'll remember! LOL

I found your blog on CAC Team thread. You can find me here

BINA said...

thank u and happy b'day -- its just around the corner!!