I’m sorry I decided to (mostly) avoid you last year. It wasn’t the best of times for me. I’d just lost my Dad, and the last thing I wanted to do was celebrate getting a year older.
It’s not that people weren’t awesome. My excellent work buds pooled together and found me an amazing Indigo Girls concert print. I took some time out at work to photograph Moira and Zeena wearing new Indigirl designs. I seem to remember sushi lunch from my favorite place. I alternately yelled at Sandra for celebrating too much… or not enough.
But all I wanted to do was cry.
So this year, I’ll be 34. (In a few short hours, actually.) And it may sound odd, but I feel like I haven’t had a birthday in years.
Here it is, nearly the end of 2011. My Dad’s been gone a year. I spent a few months falling apart and a few months putting myself together again.
I traveled to Maryland, Florida, New York. California and Illinois. I turned an amazing corner in my career. I enjoyed my dogs, my home, my wife, my family. I fell, undeniably and completely, in love with baseball. I gained (some of) the weight I’d lost in 2009. I gained a few good friends, and connected with ones I hadn’t seen in years. I learned how to bake a cake. I learned ruby on rails. I learned that I’m not as grown up as I’d like to be. I learned that I don’t actually like being sad.
I learned what it’s like to be scared about losing my mom. That was a big first for me. My whole life, my Dad’s been the one to worry about losing. With my mom’s diagnosis of Stage 4 Lymphoma, I realized that nothing’s a given, nothing’s guaranteed.
And now too, I wait for my own diagnosis; of immune problems, of cancer, of infertility or (God willing) absolutely nothing at all. I’m learning that waiting for your own results is actually easier than waiting for someone else’s.
But despite all of this, despite the head full of thoughts that fight to be acknowledged, I can’t sum up the last year of my life in 500 words on a blog.
It’s more than what I think of, when I think of my 33rd year.
It’s the songs on my playlists. It’s the smile on my face when I get a postcard from a dear friend. It’s my current recipe obsessions, and the movie I saw last weekend. My 33rd year is the new tires on the Jeep, the hole in the attic, the flood in the basement. It’s the smell of coffee at my desk. It’s the neighborhood cat. It’s my pathetic harvest of 4 hot peppers and six cherry tomatoes. It’s the shelves of mason jars, steadily shifting to empty.
“33″ wasn’t what I’d expected. And so too, “34″ is an age I can’t begin to imagine. Going into it, I pray that next year at this time, I’m counting the blessings of a healthy family, and a happy, healthy life.
So birthday, thanks for reminding me, at least once a year, that life is more than the highlights (or lowlights) I write in posts like these.
Birthday, thank you for reminding me that a year in my life is more than a sum of its parts.