Along with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentines Day and a few other things, like wedding days, I’d like to abolish birthdays. Or change somehow. The pressure, have to’s, expectation and sadness they can bring. For receiver and giver. What is enough.
Yesterday was my daughter’s and also my good friend’s birthcelebration. I drifted in and out of their day witnessing shifts, rises and falls in emotions.
My daughter and I went to breakfast at a local spa ..a little Epcot France-ish, not really me, but beautiful and different, which made it special. My two girls and I have figured out how to make a memory and an experience pretty inexpensively and possible. We share good food, sip water from pretty glasses, and sit on porches over looking lily padded koi ponds, as the rain gently falls.
After breakfast I went on to my friend’s. She was crying. Not a great birthday so far. It’s not that she had big expectations; a little sweetness or surprise maybe, but an argument with her teenage daughter was not wished for. Although perhaps a gift. Isn’t all pain in some ways a gift. My heart hurt for her. And her daughter. Both had swollen eyes, and that stuck dark feeling you get in your chest from all the mud that’s been stirred up. A whirl of past present and future emotions spun in and through them. Exhaustion.
My birthdate was last month. I let go of every bit of birthday expectation from others, ever since a teen boyfriend gave me a yellow rain suit. The whole rubberized unromantic suit. Jacket and overalls. No jewelry in any of the fourteen pockets. I kept looking for months.
Our day is, Ourday.
Throughout the years my birth ritual has changed, but kind of involves the same things. A sunrise morning prayergratitude walk, something delicious to eat; alone or with a friend, a purchase ..usually a book, woodswalk, and a moonlight walk. The past few years I’ve walked through town giving away cherries. Not the blackred ones but those yellow light red, bigger ones. Rainier. They are a surprise. I love watching the burst, eyes wide, and then offering another.
My mom used to decorated the breakfast table while we slept. Crepe paper ribbons, balloons, and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY! sign, she made. The table was set with polkadot plates and napkins (Batman for my brother), and in the center a pile high of presents. We felt loved and special.
A tradition I continued for my girls but now wondering if it’s things like that, that set up expectation and disappointment.
Just thoughts. Always thoughts.
When my mom passed, for a few years on her day, November 11th; also my other daughter’s birthday, I’d take a photo of a tree. Some years it would be in full autumnal red blaze, some crinkly brown, and some leafless.
Other silent celebrations. In winter. Twig mandalas, candles, and feathers in the snow. Photos snapped with freezing fingers at the time of birth. A nod to the gifts that were received by that incarnation.
At the end of the day my friend was smiling from a reconciliation and family dinner. And my daughter was smiling too. We sat up on her friend’s rooftop porch looking down at summer happenings. Holding hands, giving thanks for our not so traditional mother daughter thing, and that we are friends.
Last year on October 5th I struggled for life on a crumbling altar in a church ruin in Spain.
I haven’t been ready to tell the story yet here.
But I’m thinking of changing my birth day to 10.5.14
No one will know. No gun to the head pressure to prove your love for me. No hotter than hell days.
But, no cherries.
Oh how Id love that rain suit now. Useful, practical, no strings attached.