One of the guidance counselors walked past about an hour after the cake was dropped off and asked me about it. She said, "What's the occasion?" and I told her that tomorrow was my birthday. She wished me a happy one, and then asked me how old I would be. I kind of smirked and said, "Forty four." I've had some mixed feelings about entering my mid 40's and it plainly showed. The counselor then asked me, "Why are you frowning?" and I felt a little sheepish then and said something to the effect of, "well, you know, time is just moving so fast, and I'm not really young anymore..." and her reply gave me something to think about for the rest of the day. She said, "No, you should be happy. Every year is a blessing..." then she smiled at me, patted my shoulder, and went on about her day.
I thought about that all afternoon. I thought about my friend Michael, who died when we were both 31 years old. What wouldn't his friends and family give for another 13 years with him? One of my girlfriends from high school lost both of her sons to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy when they were teenagers. Those boys never got a chance to whine about reaching middle age. Another woman I went to high school with never made it to work one morning, and they found her dead of a brain aneurism on her kitchen floor that afternoon, dressed in her work clothes. She was 42. I could go on, but you get the drift. That one small comment from my coworker really changed my whole perspective.
When I take stock of my life at this point, I realize how much I've accomplished in my 44 years. I have a husband that I adore and love to pieces. We work hard to make each other happy. I have a home of my own, finally, which was something I spent years hoping for. I have wonderful friends, two of whom will be over tonight to drink wine and eat cake and celebrate with me, and we'll do it all again for them when their birthdays roll back around. Tomorrow another group of my friends (from my larger book club) are going out to eat with me to mark the occasion. I am rich in friendship! I have two sweet dogs that I dote on, and a sassy shit-talking parrot that makes me laugh every single day. I like my job, and my coworkers. I have a good life, and every single year I get to spend enjoying it really is a blessing. Thank you, Mrs. Betty Lawrence, for reminding me of all that!
Now I'm off to enjoy my day....and to be thankful for it! Have a good one, everyone!
|43 years ago today...it's always been all about the cake!|