Tag Archives: birthday

Happy Birthday to me…

So, here I be, 54 and counting. According to my family’s average, I have around 6 good years left. Everyone seems to have either died at 60-ish or made it to well over 80. I’m going for option two.
Or so I hope.
Why? I’ve accomplished quite a lot in my humble life. I’m still waiting for a published book, but other than that, most of my life goals have been met.
The only problem is that the longer I live, the more I want of it. My kids are now fascinating adults – I find myself stretching to keep up with their intellectual capacities. They have charming companions, who I enjoy tremendously and adore.
Late in life, I’ve met the perfect man for me – kind, loving, attentive and totally sweet. He makes me wish I could read romances without snorting.
Now, if only I could manage my pain. Ever since I heard that over half our support group didn’t have pain with their MS I have felt positively bitter that I have it. I want to trade my MS in for a less annoying version. But then I don’t know what that would look like. And it might be worse.
In any case, I do feel grateful. For the years I’ve lived, the experiences I’ve had, the wonderful people I’ve had the chance to know, the places I’ve seen.
Anything further is just gravy.
But I do like gravy…


It was my birthday yesterday and the very best part of it was having a chance to reconnect with friends far and near, chat with them briefly or longer, hear about their lives. I spent the day smiling thinking about my past lives, the people I’d met there, and the joy they bring to my current life. It was a glorious snowy day that caused me to be cozied up inside with only brief forays out to watch Chutney the dog leap about in the snow like a cat with wrapping paper. I wallowed in my friends instead of the snow.

Early on, I heard from a former “significant other”, who remains significant to this day. We met the first week of university, spent so many silly times together – will I ever forget the Boston Cream Pie fiasco? We lost track of each other, then reconnected a couple of years later. It was … incendiary … I spent days enclosed by a mist of lust and longing and total addlement. We reconnected again a while ago, briefly. It was … incendiary! Again! Plus friendly and loving and caring and completely unexpected and thrilling. And yet innocent. I can’t help smiling thinking about it. So, what does it mean? Soulmates? Oddly attuned pheromones? Shared love of the muppets? Who knows. All I know now is that somewhere on the planet there’s a star that shines, that warms my heart. We’re unlikely ever to reconnect again in a physical way, but our friendship remains solid, warming, and comforting. I am so grateful for it.

Then, later in the day, my girlfriends checked in. A wonderful group of women, my gang of ladies who lunch, who circle around my sis-in-law-once-removed, and who welcomed me in, arms open, despite my ungratefully divorcing my ex. When I lived in Ottawa, we’d visit once monthly for a lingering lunch of conversation and support and affection. I miss them so much.

My nursing buddy called. We’ve been friends since I arrived at Queen’s, we suffered nursing school together, she saw me through disastrous boyfriends, drunken evenings, vicious nursing profs. She’s been far more successful than I have – she leads her field. I am agog at her accomplishments and so thrilled at her continued friendship with her peripatetic friend.

Many other wonderful wishes came my way throughout the day, from old friends and new. I can’t tell you how much these mean to me, as I perch on the edge of the continent and look back in gratitude for the life I’ve lived so far. How lucky I’ve been! From high school buddies to new friends, from cousins to sisters to kids to loves, my life has been and continues to be so very rich.

It heartens me, braces me to step forward, heart open, arms open, to embrace the future. My humble thanks to you all.

“She’s her mother, but I birthed her…”

One day, while sitting in a greasy spoon somewhere, I was treated to this shouted explanation of a child’s presence.  The child in question sat between two huge-bosomed women in tight T-shirts.  Their greasy dirty-blonde hair matched their greasy skin.  The child, a smallish, grey-coloured girl, looked unsurprised by this comment. It took me a while to work it out in my  head, and ever since then, when I introduce my children, I have to restrain myself from saying, “well, I birthed ’em”…

There’s more truth in what the women said than it initially appears, for all of we mothers. We give birth to these marvellous creatures and we help them through their first steps and before the blink of an eye, they are out in the wide world, and from then on, we share them with other mothers and fathers.  These friends and stand-in mothers and teachers and bosses and others all take a part in raising these things we’ve birthed, for good or ill.  Luckily, it’s often for good. Mothers like me, who are quickly tired, enjoy sharing their kids with others to help parent. Not that I had much chance to do that, mind you – my kids’ dad was away a lot, and the kids viewed most babysitters as the enemy and a puzzle to be solved – as in “how can we ensure they NEVER want to babysit us again?” I foolishly let them read Calvin and Hobbes, and they used this information to tie up one babysitter because she smoked. SHE didn’t come back. So I didn’t get to share them much.

The influence of others grows as the children grow and as we gently let the tethers out. I used to visualize a virtual umbilical cord between me and my kids – I could sense how they were through vibrations in that virtual cord.  I even had the dog on it. The cord is too stretched now for easy contact – they’ve broken off entirely, and instead I am treated to the occasional invitation into their lives and, rarely, the real treat of them asking my opinion. I like this phase. They are grown up, independent, and I like the relationship we have with each other, for the most part. It only gets irritating when they advise me.  I haven’t quite become senile yet, and think that maybe I can still manage my life. No doubt they think they can manage theirs.  So we’ve made a pact not to tell each other what to do.  Mostly, we abide by it.

They are still a big part of my brain and heart, though. I think of them daily, I send them my love, I hope their new families of friends and advisors are good to them.

Twenty five years ago today, on another Friday the 13th, I started this parental journey with my dear daughter Chris. She’s off tree-planting or something wild today, but she’s also here, in my heart. I’m sending her my love, eternal and unchanging, though she probably won’t accept it. But maybe if I send a happy birthday hum down that so-stretched virtual chord, she’ll know I wish her well. Happy Birthday, dearest daughter. Love you.