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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

As Birthdays Go

I just had another one. They seem to roll around twice as fast as they did when they were something I looked forward to. No matter how hard you try to tell yourself they're just another day, another year, they still have a great deal of significance in our lives. Birthdays, that is. A day ranked in childhood second only to Christmas in terms of anticipation, now wedged between the other days of another busy week and greeted with mild alarm at how high the number has grown.

This was my sixty-third. Not a particularly significant number. Last year was the magic "run to the Social Security Office and start collecting your pittance." Next year I can sing "When I'm Sixty-Four" and remember how impossibly old that seemed when the record came out in 1967, when I was impossibly young. This year is just plain old sixty-three but, as birthdays go, it was surprisingly good.

I've never really considered my birthday anything too important. As a child I had the annual cake and ice cream with family, and a few years there was a small party with friends. The year I turned twelve, my mother went to a great deal of effort and threw a dance party for about twenty school friends. The main thing I remember about that party is the minute the music started, the boys all ran to one corner of the room in a panic, and the girls danced the night away--with each other. Overall, it fell far short of my expectations.

Since my birthday is so close to that most romantic of holidays, St. Valentine's Day, many years the two have been celebrated as one with a single dinner out with my significant other. That works for me and the budget. I've come to associate my birthday with red roses and chocolate, the first of which I can take or leave, the second of which is a staple of my diet. I've always empathized with those born on Christmas Day, one gift often does for both, but folks are less likely to forget your birthday.

This year was typical with one noted exception. No dinner out with the love of my life. He's battling back from an injury just now--limited to three trips a week to PT and church on Sunday--so we passed on going out. There'll be other years for that. Meanwhile, we're enjoying simply being together here at home. That's a gift in itself.

By far, the nicest thing about this birthday was the virtual shower of greetings from family, from old friends, and from new friends I've only "met" through social media. It really is heartwarming to think someone who only "knows" me based on random thoughts I post on FB took the time to wish me a happy day. That's a phenomenon we couldn't have dreamed of back when a few cards in the mailbox constituted a big event. It was really nice, that steady flow of greetings throughout the day, sort of a "drop in" party I didn't have to get dressed up for.

As birthdays go, this one was actually pretty special. If I felt a little older, a little slower than I'd like, I also felt thoroughly uplifted by so many "Happy Birthday!" messages on my timeline. A friend in Tennessee sent me a beautiful bouquet of vibrant cyber balloons while another in Vermont posted a picture of two elegant little girls enjoying an elaborate tea party--the two of us when we were young and gay, don't we wish! One of my "reader" friends sent wishes to one of her "favorite authors," which is one of the nicest things anyone can ever say to me! Best of all was the video message from our great-granddaughter Emma, who is two and may have had just a little technical support from her mommy, our beautiful granddaughter, Meagan. We've never met Emma face to face, but thanks to FB, we've watched her grow from a preemie weighing in at under two pounds to a walking, talking, smiling toddler. To hear her sweet voice echoing her mother's note for note was enough to start my birthday off with a few tears and a very, very warm heart. If I have to keep having birthdays, I'll hope for lots more like this one!

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