It is, inevitably, my birthday again. I am 32 today. It is, also inevitably, 4AM. I am eating leftover miso soup (on the principle that getting warm helps one fall asleep), and I am wearing orange pants, red socks, a pink sweater, and a coral-colored scarf (articles of clothing corresponding to ditto principle, color of clothing corresponding to Crazy). And for the first time in many, many years, I am not especially excited about it being my birthday.
Two years ago, I sat in this very same place at the kitchen counter, typing on this very same computer on this very same day, and I wrote to you to tell you that I am always, in spite of myself, excited on my birthday*. That was, anyway, a particularly special year. I was turning 30, I had just had just become a mother**, I had just begun to awe myself by writing this beautiful blog***, my dear college friend KG had sent me a fragrant bouquet of organic white roses and lilies in the mail, and everything seemed vital and dreamlike and on the brink of happening.
Now? I'm not sure what to say about now. My parents sent me a cake and 100 bucks, and my husband bought me a massage at Bliss and arranged for a friend to drive me home from Ikea tomorrow with some new furniture****. These things are all wonderful, and my husband is wonderful, and so is my son, and I am doing work that actually makes me happy. However, I cannot at this very moment seem to muster the wild surmise with which I have, on May 10s past, star'd at the Pacific (so to speak). I am 32, which is not nearly so exciting as 30, especially considering the fact that I keep thinking I am 33, perhaps a more piquant number, and my husband has to keep reminding me that I am not. My son is almost 2 and a half, and he walks and talks and cuddles and kisses and has horrifying, seizure-like tantrums. His care still rests entirely in my command, and will do so for years to come, but his life is now his own. He is a person in his own right, and his story is no longer mine. Coming home from Whole Foods today, he waved bye-bye to the taxi and ran up the sidewalk to our building. At the bottom of the stairs, I called his name, and he turned to me, and I asked him, "Will you remember today? Will you think about today when you're old?" And he looked into my eyes for a moment with a gaze either wise or uncomprehending, and then turned, giggling, to climb the stairs.
*At one time, I would have combed through my entries and linked to the one in question. But not right now. It is too late at night, and I am too ashamed of my recent non-productivity to confront myself with my past hyper-productivity.
**At the time, 5 months in, I already felt as though I had been a mother for ages, but I am stunned now, looking back, at how very NEW it was - 5 months! I had only been a mother for 5 months! - and I know with certainty that one day I will look back at this time and be stunned at the thought of only having been a mother for 2 and a half years.
***I feel as though I can say this with no compunction because, my dear, darling, long-suffering readers, I know that it is no longer such a beautiful blog. I don't write as much, as well, as poignantly as I did then - life intervenes - maybe I will start again soon - maybe next week - maybe tomorrow - maybe today?
****This is, like, the ultimate present to give a car-less New Yorker; while Ikea is easy enough to get to, getting the furniture home is quite an issue. You could rent a truck or have them deliver, but either of these options costs about 100 bucks, which is not the end of the world, but does make you feel as though you should wait until you have enough money to buy ALL of the furniture that you need instead of just purchasing in drips and drabs, with each drip and each drab occasioning an additional 100-buck get-it-home cost. And of course, you never have enough money for ALL of the furniture that you need, so you never go to Ikea except when you have been very, very, very good about making credit card payments for months on end, or when your parents have decided to be far more generous than they can actually afford to be. So it seems like the most amazing luxury to be able to go to Ikea and buy only A LITTLE furniture - just what I can afford and need most at this very moment - and bring it home the very same day FOR FREE.