What used to be special days that I’d anticipate, are now days I typically dread, want to just get behind me, and hate the feeling that they marked time.
Yesterday, my youngest child became a teenager. Her birthday is shared by her oldest brother. It’s also our anniversary (this has always been a non-event). A couple days from now will be one more birthday (another son). Throw in Father’s day, and you might understand why when my kids were all little , I sometimes referred to this as hell week. It was hard to throw three parties together and an event for their father, all in a few days back then. Many of those years, I was either pregnant or nursing or chasing a toddler. It’s not quite as challenging in those ways now, but still not something I look forward to.
Isn’t that sad? In another lifetime, I used to love birthdays. Long ago, I used to keep a birthday folder/calendar, plan and buy cards and gifts ahead of time, and feel excited about making it a special day. I used to feel that way about other holidays too. Now I see the holidays and birthdays as marking time, and demanding money and energy in scant supply.
My daughter was excited to have her brother actually here with her, and while he didn’t seem to give a hoot what happened himself, he fondly listened to all her ‘conferences’ with him to decide the lunch and dinner menus, and which cake to choose. (It was hotdogs, coleslaw, and homemade oven baked beans for lunch, then meatloaf, Irish mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli with cheese for dinner. Oh, and carrot cake for dessert!)
The birthday breakfast is traditionally that the birthday kid goes to breakfast with their father. I started that tradition when we just had our firstborn. I think it was a prescient intuition to allow special attention from a passive father. In hindsight, I wish I had never initiated and encouraged that. Oh well. Now it’s an expectation and every year he gets to be the fun birthday breakfast dad, while the worried tired mom tries to pull a rabbit out of the moneyless hat.
This year it was the same old. Except to make the week more exciting, the vitamix died (not under warranty anymore). I depended on that vitamix because on a bad day, I’d have dark green smoothies (kale, spinach, parsley or cilantro, a few blueberries, and one inch of a banana and water). On a bad day, it’s sometimes the only thing that doesn’t cause discomfort for me to eat. He dug out an ancient little blender, but it just doesn’t work the same. A bigger blow was that the second car we recently got for a thousand dollars made a bad funny noise that turned out to be a two thousand dollar repair. Goodbye second car. Now it’s back to one old car again. I told my daughters that the thankful place is that it didn’t kaput on the highway at high speed, and so no one was hurt. That part I really mean. I’ve had the call from the emergency room, and never want to again.
I plan to get my daughter a used bike (hers is getting too small) for her birthday, and she’s quite patient to wait for it. She was very sweet about the special meals, and I did manage to get her to a movie matinee of Maleficent with her sister. It’s one of those times where you wait for the inner or outer reminder of ‘how much worse’ it could be to keep perspective, but just one year, I’d like to be able to get her gift ahead of time, and not worry about money. And be in the place where I’m dressing normally again and going out normally again. It’s difficult to not be angry with myself as though beating myself might change something.
The strange and awful thing about yesterday was that it was a terrible physical pain day. I woke up and felt almost crippled by the pain. My knee was much more painful, and suddenly in the morning yesterday, I could barely walk on the opposite ankle. It felt like the bone was stuck or twisted. The old arthritis in my left hip flared up with a vengeance, and physically I was absolutely miserable. I literally limped and hobbled through the day.
I could say ‘what the heck’ and wonder why and how I seemed to deteriorate so fast, but I actually suspected that I knew why. It was our anniversary.