They Said It’s my Birthday!

My computer is fixed yet old. There is only so much this machine will do and so much I want to do with it, yet, it works. Kind of like me right now.

I was asked recently what did I do all day. . . I write. I read. I do some cooking. I do stuff. I am embarrassed by the question because I feel like I should be working for money. That I’m not doing enough.  I told her this and she said: “Why? That sounds great!” She’s right, it is great that I can be home and do some very deep recovery from the past three years. It’s a gift and I’m grateful. Grateful as well to be reminded.

Saturday I turned 51. I had four celebrations that match who I am now. Thursday, it was with Charlie on stage with friends, Cowboy Johnson (his birthday too!) and Bradley Kopp. A joyful group of people, noisy restaurant. This is my Austin birthday.

Friday I drove to Oak Cliff (that’s next to Dallas, just so you know) and spent time with a friend and her children one and three. There is nothing like being around small children to make you focus on the present. And, as is my karma going to Oak Cliff, things happened and the original plan went out the window. But my dear friend and I, ate popcorn and chocolate, we watched a documentary on the french competition for head pastry chef.  We were together.

Sunday night, after I drove home, I met up with some lady friends for nibbles and Texas Martini. And talk.  This little dinner thing was intentional on my part to take care of myself. I knew my husband would be out Sunday night working and I didn’t want to come home to too much quiet.

Then Monday I drove out to Johnson City to my friend’s ranch and she made me dinner. Oh such a good cook. . . and we drank wine. And we laughed a whole lot under the clear starry Texas sky. There is something very special about the sky here. For one thing, there’s lots of it because the trees are not tall nor are the buildings. While I love the memories of a childhood tramping around in woods of white and grey birch, oak and maples. I treasure the cool, deep shade in summers then and there it cannot be reproduced. So, now, seven years in Texas, I return to Austin and crave the sky, especially at night.

My friend wanted me to stay another night but I needed to return home. I’d gotten my wander lust satisfied. I had a wonderful birthday weekend but no cake. This was not planned but who needs cake when there’s a great pinot on the table and you’ve had your fill of crawfish bisque?

I used to have disappointing birthdays. I was third child in a chaotic household. We did have a traditional cake from the local IGA. It was yummy but it was a family only thing. I know one year, when my mother was absorbed in my father’s drinking, that it was my sister who made sure there was cake and gifts for me. As I grew up, I couldn’t say want I’d want to do. I didn’t feel entitled. I also wanted to be surprised. . . that fantasy where someone reads your mind and gives you the party you dream of.  That young woman was relying on others to make her happy on the inside, fill a hole that only she could do.

There have been great years, don’t get me wrong, but somewhere between 31 and 51, I learned who I was on the inside. I learned what makes me happy. That I can choose to be happy, even when things are hard. And for me the word ‘happy’ includes: Contentment. Joy. Bliss. Sweet-Sad. Sharing. Acceptance.

One thought on “They Said It’s my Birthday!

  1. Mary March 10, 2011 / 6:00 PMMar

    I love how you relate your own condition to your computer’s. I think we can all relate to slow downloads, frozen screens and the patience required to wait because we REALLY need to send the email or update our finances.

    I didn’t remember the party or parties I did for you. I do have the same vague ache of birthdays uncelebrated, except for the cake. And this vague ache continues into adulthood as I share my birthday with one of my own kiddos. I make the parties for them and then lick the frosting for myself. Interesting…

    Birthday parties, weddings, graduations… They all end up the same (for me). No matter what age I am.

    I think I’ll bake some blueberry muffins. Yum!

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