Today is my birthday, again. I mention this because family and friends (you might assume they are one and the same, very small in number and extremely reluctant to be thought of as either; you may kiss my grits) have congratulated me which is something we all do on birthdays but I've always felt we do it to the wrong person.
I always thank my Mom when she calls, and she always does, referring to her as 'without whom none of this would be possible' because she really is and was, together with my dad, the person who made it all possible.
My role was mostly to behave according to the rules of gravity at that moment, which is how I went from inside to outside. I didn't have a plan then and today, sixty-three years on, I also don't have a clue.
I am one of six and the first draft of a child so to speak. Each of us have run pretty much the same race, if on different courses and in different circumstances than those our parents had and their parents before them.
I traveled halfway across the earth a lifetime ago and found someone who loves me to this day despite myself, which is leichter gesagt als getan (believe me). We have two beautiful children who are themselves adults, though one of their parents tends to forget that, a lot (and it's not their mother).
When I was a child, I desperately wanted to be a grown-up. I hurried through childhood as if there were a prize somewhere for being first without knowing what first felt like or why it was so important.
It wasn't and it never will be and I've only recently discovered that, which is really too bad as that would have been very useful to that little boy of eight standing in the big backyard on Bloomfield Avenue in Somerset, NJ. Too late smart, nothing new there.
It's taken me all this time and all those years to realize just how much I don't know and to accept that the list of things I will never know continues to expand exponentially into infinity. I could waste what's left of my life yearning for what can never be or be gracefully grateful for that which I have. The latter feels like a good choice at this point.
"It takes a long time to grow young," said Picasso and none of us have as long a time left as we think or hope. But it's what we do with what we have that defines us and how we live and who we love. Happy birthday to me. says the calendar but happy birthday to you as well, be it today or whenever it is.