Today I am feeling: A little wistful, a little nostalgic. Today is my birthday. And as birthdays go, it’s just sort of what one would expect of a thirty-something birthday. On the whole much better than last year’s, when I was down in Portland on my own with Sam while my mom was in the hospital and Mark had to return to Seattle to go to work. It was a sad, lonely, exhausting time.
I’ve always loved the fall for lots of reasons, my birthday being one of them. It was always the start of something new - the start of the school year, a new city, a new job. It’s when I got married and moved across the country, it’s when I found out I was pregnant with Sam. I think of myself as an optimistic person, so these changes were always looked forward to. But, looking back, there was plenty of heartache to go along with some of those changes, heartache I didn’t always see coming. Now that I’m older, I think I’m better at acknowledging those possibilities, although I like to think I haven’t lost my essential positive outlook.
As I type this, it is looking extremely likely that I will be losing my mom soon. On good days, I am able to look at this as a change that I and our family will ultimately be able to deal with. On bad ones, I wait until the kids are asleep and cry, thinking about all of the grandmother things that both my mom and my kids are going to miss out on. In lots of ways, they already have. I know that if she was well, I would have received about a week ago a package of carefully and individually wrapped little gifts that she would have pulled together while out and about (Whenever I’d ask her where she got something, she always replied enigmatically, “Oh, I have my places...”). Right about now, she’d be sending Sam something unique and special to celebrate his start of school.
I remember when I got married we put together little copper cookie cutters with cookie recipes to give to guests at the reception. I printed out and tied the recipes onto the cutters myself. I remember my mom saying that when my child went to school for the first time, we’d pull these out and tie them with a pretty bow to give to his teacher. The thought seemed so far away and unreal...having a child, that child being old enough to go to school.
Next time I’m home, I’ll be pulling those cutters out of the bottom drawer in the kitchen and taking them back home to tie with something from my own ribbon collection.
10 months ago