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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to Celebrate the End of an Era

Last weekend, my sister reminded me that since her birthday on August 5th, we're the same age. But only for a couple more weeks. In just a short time, I will be in my last year of my forties. It's hard for me to believe that not long ago, I couldn't even SAY the "F" word. I would say "I'm thirty-ten", and the next year "I'm thirty-eleven". Somewhere around "thirty-fourteen" I finally said "fuck it" and got that other "F" word behind me. Like my sister, right now I am forty-eight. But the clock is ticking, and in just two weeks, I will be forty-nine.

Yesterday at the shop, I reflected on this soon-to-be reality out loud. Wes smiled and said "Heyyyy, that's right! How are we going to celebrate?" Jeebers. I never thought about it, but you know what? That's a damn good idea. When Charlie turned 50, I gave him a surprise party. We've been to a couple of parties of celebrants turning 50. I pondered. Why wait until 50? For me, 49 seems to be more a milestone. I don't know why, but for some reason, this last year of the forties seems to hit more of a chord in me than the impending fifth decade.

The problem is, I REALLY don't want a party. Oh I want TO party alright. I just don't want A party. I want to be surrounded by my friends and fam. But not just because it's my natal anniversary. I want it because that's what makes me happy; my friends and family. I don't know what we'll do. In fact, like most birthdays, it will probably pass without much ado and the truth is, I've always been okay with that. Money in the fall has always been short for us because of the beginning of the school year. We've always watched whatever "extra" funds we might have had around August and September go into a shopping cart full of school supplies. Now, there's no actual shopping cart, just a virtual cart where one click of the mouse deducts our bank account for tuition or books. Not to mention, each of my kids has a fall birthday (hey, Charlie and I had some cold winters when we were younger!), so my birthday, rightly so, usually falls by the wayside. Yesterday, Charlie gave Caris and I "the speech" about our state of affairs and how we have to be real careful for the next few months because things are REAL tight. Mickey will give me a free D-Land pass for my b-day, but what fun is that by myself?

So it will probably be dinner at home where I'll do the cooking. My sister said that her hubby cleaned her bathroom for her as a birthday present. Actually, I like the thought of that. Isn't it funny that with the passing of time and the lack of funds, the smallest things become the most treasured? A clean toilet that I did not toil over, or a stack of clean clothes that I did not fold, or even a full dishwasher that I did not load can make me positively giddy (although Caris does a great job of all that). What would make me ecstatic is if all my kids are here. Yes, that's a blatant hint. Not that any of my kids reads this blog anymore, but hey, it couldn't hurt.

So there it is. The answer to the annual question, "What do you want for your birthday?" I want my family. And a bottomless Cosmopolitan.