Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and mine is right around the corner. It’s one of those mind fuck years. You know, the ones that end in zero or five and cause you to take stock of your life.
By and large, we couldn’t be happier. Two great kids, nice home, steady jobs and (knock on wood) good health. We’ve been given so many blessings in life, it seems wrong to allow a number on a calendar to temper our happiness.
As much as we try to ignore the passing of time, it has a way of catching up with you. You look in the mirror and you notice a line here or there you hadn’t seen before or the sun hits your hair and you find highlights you hadn’t paid a fortune for. But what really brings it home is a life event where friends and family gather to help you celebrate and fewer and fewer loved ones are there to join you.
We are both the baby of the family and both of our closest siblings are seven years our senior. Odd uh? But true. While the loss of loved ones is simply fulfilling the circle of life, it doesn’t make it any easier.
Yesterday, by pure happenstance, we drove past the cemetery where my mom is buried. Since my hubby and I met at fifteen, some thirty-five years ago, mom means almost as much to him as she does to me. As we strolled down memory lane, what we remembered most was her laughter. She had overcome so many crushing obstacles during her life, but she always thought the best of those around her. She outran her demons by staying busy. Even from her hospital bed, she made it a point to call and chat with the home-bound ladies in her church. She never told them she was seriously ill herself. The point was to cheer them up, not drag them down.
As we pulled into the parking spot at the restaurant for my husband’s birthday dinner, he looked over at me and smiled. “You know,” he said, “your mom would kick our asses if she heard us bellyaching about growing another year older.”
I had to laugh. He was right. She wouldn’t have put up with that for a minute. “Your hair may be turning gray, but it’s still sitting on your head. If you don’t like the color, change it.” You weren’t allowed to complain about anything you had the ability to change. To her way of thinking, if you didn’t have the guts to change what you didn’t like, then you hadn’t earned the right to complain about it.
Since we can’t do anything about the passing of loved ones and since I enjoyed trying my mother’s patience from time to time, I could make the argument that because it’s unchangeable, I can, in fact, complain about it.
The thought makes me smile. I can see her eyebrow raised in disdain as she shakes her head at me. I know mom, just kidding.
Instead, we will honor our loved ones by living each day to the fullest, accepting what can’t be changed and fighting mother nature’s sense of humor with as much grace as possible.
Happy Birthday, Love. You’re much sexier today than the sweet, less-confident teenage boy that I first fell for. You’ve made my life a beautiful place. I’m definitely the luckiest woman in the world to have you as my husband, the father of our children and my lifemate. I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for us in the years to come.