When I’m 59
There are moments when I just want to stop and hold it in and savor it all. Ahhh, this love. Ahhh….these boys. Ahhh….this day. Ahhh...these friends. But it never really stops or even slows down. I need to wake up and get out of bed. Need to turn the warm water off and get dressed. Need to hand the boys off to the world of kindergarten and beyond. Need to pick up my camera and use it like a lopper and cut through the bush. Birthdays are a marker that makes it ever more clear that this ship doesn’t slow down until it stops. Life is never laid back. Peace is a dream. You can never really take your foot off the gas. Which is not to say there are not moments - many moments - of perfect bliss.
It always feels that if I take my birthday too seriously I will be marking time when I want so desperately to collect memories like pennies. Want to create moments knowing they will disappear. Want to discover something every single day I never knew existed. Listen to something I never heard before. I want to hold Stephie’s hand, whose hand I hold everyday and be in awe of how good her hand feels. I want to kiss my boys as they lay in suspended animation asleep. I want my kisses to feel like fairy dust on their cheek.
When people ask me why I moved to Boulder I tell that story I am so tired of telling. That I came out to take care of my brother who suddenly got sick - quickly followed by, “he is fine now” - and then about Stephie coming out, looking up at the mountains and asking if we were moving here. My brother getting sick was too sudden and too intense. It was a marker in the sand. It can happen that fast. It took a long time for me to be able to pass that hospital and not get lost in all that happened there.
My name sake, George Rom died so young after a long illness. Really young. When I passed the age he died, I was relieved.
My father died on his 74th birthday. Especially the way things have unfolded - he really missed a lot. Marrying Stephie...the boys….. How is that God’s will?
My mother keeps raising the bar well into her 80’s - I am going to use her ship as a beacon.
I have learned about birthdays by watching my son’s faces illuminated by the candles when we all sing, “Happy Birthday.” Every eye in the room is on them. Everyone is raising their voices, except them. They are processing, really intensely that this moment is all about them. They are not sure what the numbers mean, but they have been looking forward to that day for so long. They look at the decorations and their name on the cake, not as some privilege, but as recognition that this moment is their moment and it is special. That they are appreciated and loved and that means alot. Then the candles get blown out, the cake cut up, and it is onto the next game.
I used to think I never needed that. My ego was not about absorbing or reflecting light. It was about discovering light.
And yet. Through my boys eyes on their birthdays I have learned how to stare into the light from the candles and say, “Ok. For a moment, I will close my eyes and let myself feel all this love.” I will accept that most of my life has been a sprint into the sun with so many many gifts along the way. This light, from these candles is close and warm and fleeting. I will embrace this moment before the wind kicks up.
Last week a friend told me never to edit what I share with a friend. So I write away. To put away the fears of time cut short. To look forward and backwards at the same time. Then to blow really hard and live in the moment - where everything right now is sweet and warm and full of everything I love.
And happy birthday right now sounds like this:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWSz_PAfgNc