"Oh, Earth, you are too wonderful for anyone to realize you... Does anyone ever realize life while they live it...every, every minute? No, saints and poets maybe, they do some." - Wilder
I can guarantee to you that my husband...and Jack...and A-R if she could talk...and the rest of my family and friends would tell you that I am no saint. My high school creative writing teacher, Mrs. Roth, would tell you that I'm no poet. But with all respect to Mr. Wilder, although not a poetic addition (see, I know what's not poetic), I would add "and people who have or have faced life threatening illnesses or situations".
This crazy beautiful precious life is just funny. Life truly ain't nothing but a funny funny riddle. You spend your youth voraciously coveting additional candles, longing to be older, waiting for the day that your life will "begin!!" "When I'm older I will..." starts innumerable sentences. Somewhere in your 20's, you start feeling time accelerate - not only chronologically, but also across your face, parts of your body, your hair (in my case for sure, I've been going grey since my early 20s). What only years ago was a source of pride - "I'll be 16 six months before you!!" - becomes "Ha Ha, you'll always be six months older than me!" Your 30s come and eventually parts of you start creaking and cracking and you realize holy crap, somehow I've ended up precipitously close to middle age. The music you grew up with starts to be played on "retro" weekends and classic rock stations and the band members are receiving their AARP membership applications. You find yourself going to your 20 year high school reunion, which you can't really understand because you are certain that, even though you have been married for 11 years and have two children, you KNOW you only left college about 5 years ago. But if you are healthy, all of these thoughts are accompanied by the tiny voice in the back of your mind going "but I still have soooo many years ahead, no big deal." And then something comes and smacks you in the face so hard that a punch would feel like a cotton ball, turns your world so upside down that vertigo seems like a gentle ride on a small carousel, that everything you previously knew for certain, everything you knew to be true about this world, is intrinsically forever changed.
People who hide their ages, are ashamed of them...I just want to shake them and say "Why can't you see? Why can't you see how very very lucky you are? Those years are family you got to love and sunsets you experienced and places you traveled and children who were able to know you." But I understand. It's truly not something that you can ever comprehend until you live it and I get that. And I mean that - I have been on both sides now - even if you have taken care of someone who has passed, even if you have lost people around you, even if you have lost a piece of your heart when they left. I have lost many people in my life. I have lost people at a young age (both them and me), I have taken care of people that I have lost, I have taken care of someone who at one time held my heart, I have lost chunks of my heart, a rather large chunk of my heart- but I didn't fully understand - I didn't fully ingest, absorb, taste, consume the complete and utter fragility of this life until I got sick. I can see the theoretical thestrals. I wish to God I couldn't, I wish I thought the carriage was still invisibly guided, but I can see them.
So this is what a birthday means now.
It means that I had another year to practice at this crazy dance called marriage. It means that maybe to these two beings I will actually be a tangible mother, not a vague memory or scent conjured only by pictures or stories. It means I had another year to try and realize any, some, bits and pieces of my dreams and goals. It means that I have had another chance to continue in this powerful play, to contribute another verse.
It means that if someone says, "Oh, you'll always be older than me" I will smile and say, "Yep, isn't that great!?" It means if someone says, "Don't worry, you'll be there one day", that I will gleefully say "Yes, I will, and I can't wait!".
Never again will I lament the opportunities, the blessings that the passing of this time has given me. Never again will I fail to celebrate another candle, another 365 days, another 525,600 minutes.
Never again will I spend and waste time as if I had a million years.
I am 39 years old today.
I am 39 years old today.