It’s my birthday, today! I LOVE my birthday. It’s the one day of the year that’s mine. It’s all mine. I don’t have to share this day with anyone else. I’m greedy that way. I am sure that other people have this birthday. In fact, I know they do. One of my college professors, who is a pretty great guy, has this birthday. But still, it’s my birthday.
I didn’t grow up in an especially easy house to live in. We had clean clothes, meals on the table, and enough money to send two girls to college. Lots of people would say that’s all a person needs. And, maybe it is. I got an education, and then, I got the fuck out of there.
But, if the laundry wasn’t put away, the mail was crookedly placed on the counter, or someone’s shoes were left by the front door, heaven help the kid who was closest to my mom when she discovered the error. Even if those things were done correctly, she’d find something to yell, smack, or otherwise punish about.
She’s older now, so her memories have faded into a more idyllic version of herself. She’s got grandchildren, so she’s mellowed into a foreign version of herself that I don’t recognize. She’s like the witch in Hansel and Gretel. She softly, and sickeningly lures children in with sweets and kindness; but, I keep waiting for her to cook them.
Yesterday, when I got my staples out, I was terrified; especially because it was my birthday eve. That’s a real thing! If Christmas and and Summer’s Eve get an “eve,” so do I. I didn’t want my birthday to be tarnished by pain, anymore; so, I was especially freaked by the staple appointment being scheduled for yesterday.
See, on my 18th birthday, my mom peeled out of our driveway, screaming, “you’ve ruined my life!” I’m pretty sure she got confused, because it’s the angst-y teenager that’s supposed to have the tantrum, not the middle-aged woman, right?
She had gotten angry with me me for opening the sliding glass door one too many times to model my new birthday outfits. She wasn’t paying to air condition the outside! I’m saving my “you’ve ruined my life” moment to use on Collin, for something similarly egregious, like a glass of spilled milk.
Prior to that, my birthday was always the best day of the year, for me. My dad used to set up treasure hunts to secret, special presents. There was never any yelling. There was never any hitting. It was always a good, special day. It meant a day of peace from the usual chaos that was our house. So, I vowed that, from then on, my birthday would always be a good day.
So, I didn’t want to do the staples yesterday. I had stitches last time, which barely hurt to remove. These staples were already more uncomfortable just being in, than the stitches were. I wasn’t looking forward to them coming out. I was being a baby about it. I wasn’t saying anything about it, but I didn’t like the idea.
No more than thirty minutes before the appointment though, I was playing in the sand, frolicking at the beach, with my husband and my son. My son was so excited to get to the water, he tripped and fell. He flew through the air, arms flailing over his head. He fell in the dance of limbs that only kids can do, a glorious display of excitement, then tragedy, as joy mixes with klutzy glory.
In the melee of arms and legs, he skinned his elbow. I kissed his sandy, dirty, bloody boo-boo. Thankfully, he didn’t fall on the needle, condoms, or homeless people, also scattered throughout the sand. Miraculously, my love, just my love, fixed what, to him, was a serious injury. I’d held him close to me, and he felt better. We both did. My life couldn’t be more ideal, more perfect. Right then, something important occurred to me: I have nothing to fear, ever.
The staples came out easily. I won’t lie, each one pinched, and hurt. It’s especially important to remember that pinch for something like 30-ish staples. Oh, and that the doctor “saved” the worst one for last. But, I was a brave little chicken. One of the worst parts was that we had to leave for the appointment at 6 am, because it's in Santa Monica. Sooo early! Bryon joked with the doctor that he could’ve done it at home with needle-nosed pliers. The doctor was not all that not amused. I guess they don’t like it when you reduce medical school to something you can pick up at Home Depot. Who knew?
No amount of anything, at any appointment, could ruin my birthday. Not anymore. If I’d made a single whimper, I’d have two hands, fighting to find a place in mine: a soft little one (probably full of rocks and shells), and a big, strong one. I never have to be afraid (or sad) again, of anything. What more could I ask for, for my birthday, than the family that everyone should have? This birthday girl is happy, for the rest of her life.
P.S. Can't wait to see how my BIRTHDAY goes!