Tag Archives: getting older

The Perfect Birthday

31 Dec

When it’s your birthday you shouldn’t have to do anything you don’t like…right? That, at least, is what I always thought when I was a kid. It was always a total rip off when I had to go to school on my birthday…especially if my birthday was the first day of school following Christmas break.

If I stuck with that philosophy now my day sure would be nice. See, I’m turning 44 this week so I’m thinking that I ought not to have to do any dishes on that day. Nor should I have to wash (or fold) any clothes. I won’t wear my heavy coat when I leave the house because I don’t like my heavy coat. Never mind that I’ll freeze to death. I won’t sneeze because I hate sneezing. I won’t throw up because I really, really hate throwing up. I won’t answer the phone because I don’t like telephones. I won’t sweep. I won’t dust. I won’t water my temperamental plant. I won’t eat anything I dislike. This includes coffee that gives me heartburn and anything that will add to my waist line. But I will drink weak but utterly delicious coffee and eat cake.

Magical cake that has no calories.
I won’t exercise. I won’t run the microwave and the toaster at the same time, thereby avoiding the deep, dark basement when I pop the breaker. I won’t do that. I won’t. I won’t clean hair out of the drain or wipe toothpaste out of the sink. Heck, I’ll avoid the bathroom as much as possible because, let’s face it, it’s not my favorite room. This means I won’t have to wash my face and my skin will be perfect. And my hair. That, too.

And birthdays are all about favorites.

I’ll talk to all of my dear friends I’ve lost track of over the past 44 years. I’ll go and visit all my favorite places. But I won’t suffer from jet lag. I’ll have all the time in the world to write and I’ll be focused, creative, and edit-proof. I’ll also spend hours on end with my family and my children will never squabble or argue with me, nor will they make messes. Or if they do, they’ll clean them up.

My husband will bring me breakfast in bed after I’ve slept in until I wake up on my own. My bedroom will be toasty warm from the fire my husband will light in my magical fireplace that only appears on my birthday and never leaves a mess behind itself.
I will luxuriate in a bubble-filled bath with water that never grows tepid because a magical fire-breathing dragon is keeping it heated from below. And he won’t poop or stink up the space beneath the house ‘cause I wouldn’t like that and my birthday is all about stuff I like.

I’ll eat chocolate and read a fabulous book and have soup and everything I cook will turn out perfectly and even prettier than the photo in the cookbook. I will find an agent and a publisher and be famous, all in one day. But with none of the obnoxious stuff about fame…’cause no one wants that.

And if I don’t want it, I won’t have to deal with it.

Because it’s my birthday.

And it’s supposed to be perfect.

Or, rather, it’s my birthday…and no matter what I do – or don’t do – it will be just fine. Because maybe our birthdays as adults aren’t quite as exciting as they were when we were kids…but still, it’s a birthday! And that, as they say, is far better than the alternative.

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I Dream of a World…

8 Jan

So apparently I can’t get away from list-making and reflecting on the new year. I think it has something to do with the fact that for me the new year is doubly new, as my birthday is January 3rd, so not only is the new calendar year beginning, but so is a new year of my life.

I turned 43 on Thursday. To me this feels old though I know that it is not. I am not one of those people who won’t tell their age. I’m okay with being 43. Though, to be sure, 43 looks a lot younger to me than it did 30 years ago. Back then it looked old. Now it just looks…a wee bit old.

I thought that I’d have accomplished more things by this time in my life. I suppose that all kids imagine that. I thought that I’d be a published author. Or maybe a famous opera singer. Or maybe a scrappy journalist, speaking Russian and helping to end the Cold War.

Somehow the Cold War ended without me. The music major I’d considered turned out to be unrealistic, and the journalism major was more work than I was willing to put into it. So I majored in English (the standby for all people who love to read), went to grad school (the standby for all people who can’t get a job with their major), got married, taught a little, had kids…all those good, lovely things that happen to people, whether they achieve their imagined selves or not.

And I love where I am in life. I mean, I’m far from perfect. Far from the “#1 Mom” that my daughter tells me I am. Far from the perfect housewife, the perfect friend, the perfect parishioner. No, I’m not famous. I’m not perfect in body or mind or will. But I’m content.

No, I have not sold my book – not that I’m quite ready to try…give me a few more months – and I maybe never will. Maybe all the months and years that I’ve spent on it will end up as nothing more than a file on my lap top.

That would really be a drag.

For now, I’ll keep plugging away at it. I’ll take each day as it comes and not regret a thing. (Well, I do regret some things I’ve said and done …but I won’t bother regretting the things I haven’t done.) I’ll keep on washing the dishes and folding the clothes.

And it will be good. Because this is where I am. And I like the path I’ve taken to get here.


There are, however, a few things that I think would make the world a perfect place. A few dreams I have.

Allow me to share them with you:

I dream of a world where my children can sit together in the back seat of the car without arguing.

I dream of a world where my children notice that the garbage can is full and, knowing that it’s their chore for that week, will take it out without waiting to be told.

I dream of a world where our two cats totally reject their bird-killing tendencies, but totally keep on exercising their mouse-killing tendencies.

I dream of a world where the snow falls only on the grass and trees and houses, but never on the roads.

I dream of a world where hair care products for a family of five cost less than a new lawn mower.

I dream of a world where I can watch the news in the morning and every story won’t be about violence, sex, or irritating politics.

I dream of a world where I can eat all the Christmas goodies I want and my body will shrink instead of expand.

I dream of a world where we can actually use my husband’s frequent flyer miles as opposed to letting them build up but not having the money, kid-sitters or time to go anywhere with them.

I dream of a world where tiny pieces of Lego stay where they belong, rather than wandering all over the house and multiplying in mysterious ways.

I dream of a world where socks match up after the laundry, clothes never shrink in the dryer, and the clothes automatically fold themselves rather than remain in the laundry basket, mocking me every time I walk past them on my way to do other, more pressing things. Oh, and speaking of pressing, I dream of a world where I never have to iron again. Especially things with pleats.

I dream of a world where, when my children brush their teeth, it doesn’t mean automatically having to wipe the sink out afterwards.

I dream of a world where I don’t complain about stuff and face everything with a smile.

I fear that’s about as likely to happen as #1.

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