Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Another year (older and wiser?)

Tomorrow I will be turning 29 (again). I am so ambivalent about birthdays lately. It seems like no matter how hard I try not to, I always have great expectations, and I am almost always disappointed. I'm not sure what it is that I expect. Waking up to a barbershop quartet singing "Happy Birthday" at my bedside? Mimosas and nothing to do all day but read and soak up sun? Non-stop phone calls wishing me a happy day? Maybe. Reality is, I'll wake up the way I always wake up: Kicky whispering loud enough to wake up Esmee, "Mom, is it morning yet?" Then Esmee's morning cry. Coffee, if I remember. A flurry of craziness until P leaves for work and then hours upon hours of PBS kid's shows (if it rains) or (if there's sun) grass-stained knees, mosquito bites, temper-tantrums (mine and theirs), and maybe a stolen chapter read during a nap. Birthdays used to be so crazy...on my 25th I started drinking shots at noon and wound up with three marines in my living room at 1:00 a.m. (long story, not nearly as risque as it sounds). I have got some old champagne in the fridge...maybe a swig of orange juice left in the carton. Patrick has invited some friends over (God, we just don't have friends here yet...I haven't had time to lament my lack of a social life) for a barbeque. I am so hungry for a social event. We used to always throw parties in San Diego...every few weeks. The last time we had people over was for Easter brunch.

Anyway, another year has passed and what have I done? Finished the first draft of the novel, celebrated the girls' first and third birthdays, moved cross-country, bought our first house, started a new teaching job, secured another one, spent the rest of the NEA money, and lost all of the baby weight. Not too bad for a year.

Now that I have the girls, I always think of my mother on my birthday. This day really belongs to her. I think about what she must have been feeling thirty - ahumph years ago. She was so young...eighteen. The doctor didn't allow my dad in the room. They gave her ether for Christ's sake. I was born in the early evening. My mother said I had so much black hair the nurses were able to make a little cupie-doll swirl on top of my head. She said she counted my fingers and toes. The first pictures of me are in a plastic laundry basket. Eighteen. She had just graduated from high school. What on earth was I doing at eighteen?

I digress. And digress. (That's what old folks do, right?) The outline is done. 31 pages. Exactly one tenth of the whole novel. I have some work to do.

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