I’m 43 today. I’m totally over being concerned about being in my 40s. I’m not too broken up about the loss of my youth. I’ve already said goodbye to the decades where I could diet for three days and lose 20lbs. I’ve already figured out I’m completely out of touch with the younger generation because of my continued befuddlement of Snapchat as an effective communication method. I am OK with these things. I am prepared for getting older: I have a happy life, a good moisturizer (and good lord, SnapChat is SO STUPID). Trust me, turning 43 doesn’t bother me, truly it doesn’t, but I haven’t been looking forward to this birthday. I haven’t wanted to make plans. I haven’t cared whether I get to eat carrot cake or chocolate mousse (or both). I’ve been meh on choosing to put anything on my wish list.. It’s been slow to hit me, but I finally realized a couple of days ago that the reason I’ve been dreading this birthday is not because I’m getting older, it’s because it’s the first birthday I’ve ever had without my mother being alive. And I know how silly that is. I know that I grew up a long time ago, that I’m an ADULT with children of her own. But when I thought about the fact that I’d go my entire birthday and I wouldn’t get to talk to my mom, I burst into tears…at work, in the middle of an office day, had to close my door and just have a good ugly cry.
Every birthday my mom would call me at the crack of dawn. She always said that she liked to call her four kids every year, right at their actual time of birth. Luckily for me, I was born 23 minutes past midnight, so she gave this up pretty early on. But still, she’d call me first thing in the morning when she got up. Sometimes I was awake, most of the time I wasn’t. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARE YOU AWAKE YET?” “Mom, it’s 5:15am.” “I KNOW, AREN’T YOU OUT CELEBRATING??” And she’d laugh. Every year she’d wake me up as early as possible just to tell me Happy Birthday and then laugh at me. The more haggard and asleep I sounded, the more tickled she got. She showed no mercy. The year Hopper was just a wee baby, we were on vacation in Oregon, so not only was I up with him, I was also in a time zone two hours behind. I called her right at my time of birth which was 2:23 in the morning in Arkansas. “HEY MOM IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, AREN’T YOU OUT CELEBRATING??” She did not find it nearly as amusing as I did.
So, I’m 43 today and my mom is gone. I said goodbye to her back in May when we laid her to rest, but I have to say, it didn’t occur to me at the time that I would keep having birthdays and how much it would hurt not to be able to hear her voice today. It hurts worse to think about how many more birthdays will come and go without her. The shitty fact that life continues and she does not. Then I think about my boys and I know that even though it’s really hard sometimes, I want many many more birthdays. I want as many birthdays as possible, til my boys are even older than I am now. With each birthday, it'll hurt a little bit less, I know that, I do.
But, I miss her. I miss my mom.