Facebook has changed the birthday experience. Far flung friends can type Happy Birthday! and I'm immediately transported to School #1 and the playground, or Ithaca and the Arts Quad, or Chicago's wintry streets. Seeing the names of friends, old and new, who are sending me love fills my heart with joy.
It's also melancholy.
This is the first year that I can't call G'ma and thank her for carrying me beneath her heart for nine months. This is the first time that I can't share the love with someone who was there at the time I came into the world. I'm looking over the abyss without a safety net.
I'm too old for a party on any but a big number, and 62 is not a big number. It's best celebrated at lovely lunch with friends, as I did before we left for Chicago and the kids. My mailbox was filled with cards, some funny, some sentimental, all carrying love and warm wishes. They are arrayed on the kitchen island, on the end table in the living room, on the hearth in the bedroom.
I want to share strawberry shortcake with my parents. I can't always get what I want.
My birthday brings me memories of a white dress with red stripes and a wide wide wide skirt that twirled around my thighs as I spun in circles. I was four or five and Daddooooo captured the moment on 8mm film. I don't need the movie to recapture the feeling, though. It was a fancy dress and it made a lovely, rustling noise. It was the perfect birthday dress.
G'ma bought it. Daddooooo memorialized it. I'd like to share that memory with them right now.
My birthday takes me to twenty girls in my basement, paper flowers adorning the walls, sixteen candles on my cake. There were friends from high school and friends from Hebrew school and a neighbor or two thrown in, as well. It was an odd mixture, but, somehow, it worked. G'ma judged the dance contest, Daddooooo was there with his movie camera and the gigantic light bar, and I wish they were here right now so we could laugh about it all.
Life goes on, and I'm glad to be here. Birthdays, marking off the passage of time, are tangible reminders of the medical miracle that is my life right now. I wish I could share the wonder with my parents..... especially as I sit on Cozy Rosie, Little Cuter's couch, watching her nap at the other end. She's growing the next generation in her womb; I long to share that with those who watched me grow.
I can't always get what I want. I know that. Somehow, though, it doesn't stop me from dreaming.