Today is my 46th birthday- not exactly a Benchmark Birthday, but still it means another year passed, still healthy, still married, all’s well here. Naturally I’m thinking and taking stock, because it’s what happens on a birthday here.
My first memory is of being 2-1/2 and still in casts, so I wasn’t walking yet. I was propped up in my grandmother’s rock garden in Texas, playing with a grape juice can and a rubber spatula, stirring small blue tiles in her birdbath. I didn’t know at the time that I was 2-1/2, but Mom confirms it.
Then when I was 3, I remember getting a haircut by my great uncle Olive in Stillwater, Oklahoma the casts were off and my legs were in braces. Soon after there’s another memory of pulling myself along the floor (still not walking) and pulling myself up to a standing position on the stair banister.
There’s a flurry of memories now- the mulberry tree at the top of the hill in Columbia,Mo. Sitting in the concrete pipe on the playground with a couple of other kids, talking about not much…whatever it is that 2nd graders talk about. The hill at the school, covered with snow and sledding down it…in Champaign, Ill.
Moving to Georgia in 4th grade and all the kids in the nieghborhood showing up at the front door the next day, the Francis’s trampoline, Scarlett’s playhouse, Linda’s father’s hunting dogs, the jar of metal jacks, the greased pole with the $5 bill on top on Field Day in middle school.
Film Making class in 8th grade and the teacher’s psychiatrist husband giving us all personality tests, marching band and the blistering hot wool uniforms, watching CHiPs with Ann and arguing who was more foxy-John or Ponch (duh…Ponch), Lisa’s father sneaking up on us in the woods around their house, crushes on boys who didn’t know I existed.
Dropping out of high school and spending months on a Caribbean island, incredibly fresh fish, and Italian bodybuilders screaming in fright during The Exorcist.
Starting in a new school my senior year and just wanting to graduate and be done with it.
Working in a nursing home, a fabric store, a steakhouse, meeting Terry and marveling at his long long legs and blue blue eyes.
Boyfriends, breaking up, another boyfriend, another breakup, more work, deciding to marry Terry, working a bit more.
Babies, a housetrailer, buying our first house, another baby, mental illness, 2 years of confusion, roses, kids going to school, moving some more, another baby
Kids growing up, teenagers, confusion, moving again, more confusion, all the time leaning on Terry and thankful for the rock he provides through it all.
25 years of marriage, wondering where the time went. Kids are adults,wondering where the time went. Kids leave, then return, another one approaches adolescence, decisions being made…do we stay or do we go?
All that and I still feel like I’m maybe 29 or 30, without the uncertainty I felt then. Being 46 means relief from the pressure of being Fabulous that the 20’s demand, or the pressure of being The Perfect Wife and Mother that comes with the 30’s. The 40’s are relaxed, easier. I like it.