Birthday

This year I’ll buy one more orchid or two with gifted birthday money from my aunt and then for my actual birthday I’ll be either finishing painting our kitchen walls, watching my kids while my husband rakes the (endless) leaves in our backyard or…I don’t know. Those are the top options as of today. *laughing*

I love my family more than life itself but…birthdays are a time to specifically and intentionally celebrate that you’re still alive.

Basically, other than one aunt who is like a saint when it comes to remembering people’s special occasions and a cousin who I’m guessing will also send a card…my birthday has been mostly lost this year.

Sterling silver teapot aside.

Actually, that teapot is extraordinary and I love it, but that was the peak of it all and I found it and bought it for myself even though it was a gift from my husband. But yeah, other than the two people who have or most likely will send a card it’s…a ghost of itself this year.

My own mother made a scheduling error and I’ll be lucky if we talk on the phone for my birthday even though she lives nearby. My husband is exhausted and stressed out (he’s doing well at work though) and I know he cares but I don’t think he has anything in particular planned. And my friends unfortunately forgot.

At dinner the other night with my father, a dinner we planned to celebrate my birthday actually, he didn’t even remember to wish me happy birthday… *laughing* Although, we really did have a lovely dinner and he sent a card in the mail with a gift... My father has aged well as a person and time has only improved him as a father too. I hope if he read this that he’d know that it’s a very sincere compliment.

Oddly though, it’s all exactly what I expected to have happen this year. I don’t know why I knew it would be like this, but I felt it ahead of time. Thank goodness for that.

I had considered buying myself a bottle of nice Champagne and, of course, drinking a glass or two… There’s something a little wild and scandalous about only having a glass or two from a whole lovely bottle. Ha! But, I probably won’t.

The thought of drinking Champagne alone in quiet while you wish you were elsewhere celebrating more heartily reminds me of other similar occasions, namely New Years Eve 2000. I was 17 that year.

The century was changing. And I felt the significance of it all deeply within myself. It grieved me even, a little bit. But, for whatever reason, I wanted to be somewhere truly beautiful. And I wanted to really celebrate.

I was so young.

My father had told so many stories about the Minikhada Club while I was growing up (the place in the photos). And, on that big night in history that was where I wanted to be; sitting at a table in a dim but cozily lit corner watching the stars. Or, maybe standing in a stairwell falling in love with some rare young man I was lucky enough to meet. I was 17.

But also, on a deeper and more intuitive level I knew there would be people there who…were in their last years. People who may not even be with us still because that was almost 19 years ago. Sure there would have been young people there but…there would have been others too who have left us now.

Those were very different, and frankly more elegant times. Even though they were just a bit less than 20 years ago there’s a marked change, unfortunately.

I wanted to sip Champagne and feel the warmth of humanity as we said goodbye to the Twentieth Century. But, I did not.

Instead, I drank non-alcoholic sparkling cider with my mom…and I think she talked with me for a couple of hours before she went to bed. Bless her for trying to stay awake that night until the start of 2001. We used to be very close.

Then, after she was asleep, I sat in the dark of our living room alone and felt the weight of my youth and the tragedy of it all. The waste. I knew I wouldn’t be young forever. I knew that moment or those like it were important and shouldn’t be lost, but I couldn’t do much about it.

Sometime I’d like to go to the Minikhada Club with my husband at a time when barely anyone is there. I did that in a hotel in Dublin, Ireland and we found the room Grace Kelly had stayed in while she visited Dublin. The room was off in the back of the hotel and it felt like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock film. As in it was somehow still existing in a different time. No remodeling. Very 20th Century.

Then we had tea in the bright and cozy tea room.

…I’m not having a mid-life crisis. I’m only turning 36. And I doubt I’ll have a mid-life crisis eventually anyway. But I am taking stock of my health, my memories, and my life in general.

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