I feel it's only fair to mention that mine was on Tuesday. I am sorry to report that while I am, indeed, another year older, I am not one whit the wiser.
(I'll be seriously impressed if you can name the person in that photo.)
While I did have a nice dinner with Tex, and an even greater conversation with him later that evening (that is, after I awakened from a brief sofa coma, induced by two glasses of wine and one ill-advised post-dinner cocktail), I can't say it was the most auspicious of days overall. First off, that morning I dreamt I was four months pregnant, and upon waking was disappointed to realize it wasn't true. I should have been relieved, as it really is for the best. Still, I had a protracted moment of grief over my childlessness. Mercifully, that is an emotional visitation which happens only occasionally - I've rigged the snooze button on my biological clock for longer increments between alarms.
Then there was the incessant stress over this hare-brained fundraising event that I've been planning, which has, of late, been nothing but obstructed, and I've wondered at the wisdom of doing it at all. My frustration is such that I'm moments away from pulling the plug, which only gives rise to greater feelings of self-doubt. And all of it is ridiculous, because it's supposed to be worthwhile and fun. Think the Uni is trying to tell me something?
Later that afternoon, I was seriously encumbered by the inappropriate gift of the husband of one of my employers, who accompanied the earrings he bought in India with a note confessing his long-standing crush, which he hoped would remain our secret. It should have remained his. The wife is my friend and confidant, and I have yet to decide the most appropriate course of action. She left me a card with a certificate for a Thai massage. We give each other lots of things. She trusts me, and I her. She's in Paris for a while, and he joins her on Friday, so I have some time. Fortunately, I haven't actually seen that sucka of a husband, he simply left the offending objects for me to find when I came to work in their home. Hours later emailed me all in a fluster of anxiety because he knew he was indulging in risky behavior.
Why does this have to be my problem? I did nothing to encourage any such advance, I swear on my life. I toil in their home, fixing broken windows and door handles, and painting rooms. Sometimes I tend to their child*, I am friends with her and friendly to him, a man I almost never see. They offered me an administrative job running the office of his new internet company, which I declined. They have been very good to me. So now I have to choose between a complicity of silence and a brutal honesty that will disrupt everyone's life. I'm leaning towards returning the earrings with a strong slap on the wrist, because I cannot accept any gesture that requires my complicity in something I know will hurt her, but will remain silent about the matter until such time as he trespasses again. And what kind of present is it to entangle someone in something that has absolutely nothing to do with the beneficiary? He should have given the earrings to her; I will never wear them. It's all so perverse, and it gave me a major meltdown as I was trying to dress for my dinner date, because I am practically incapable of not taking such things personally, or deflecting guilt, even when none of it is mine to bear. I was so angry, which almost always registers in tears, because I'm not the lashing out sort, though I should learn to be. Oh, Bother. Happy Birthday. Don't go looking for drama, drama will find you, Children.
What would you do, my dutiful readers of the Blogosphere?
Finally, birthdays are always a reminder of the anniversary of my father's death, which is this day, right here. While I don't feel a conscious grief, I do wonder at the significance of having that loss attached so near the day that is supposed to be a celebration of my own life. Perhaps there is no meaning there at all, but I am always reticent to celebrate my birthday. It could be the pall of that spectre, or it could be the wet blanket tradition, established on my twelfth birthday by my mother, who picked a fight with me every year after the cake was cut and the tinsels had hit the floor. I do believe the first time stemmed from my protest against the notion that I should clean the house after the guests were gone, as it was my birthday, after all. Her peculiar pugilistic habit lasted for the duration of high school, though the reason shifted from year to year, as did her convenient forgetting of the date of my father's passing. I was intended to forget, as well.
Life is full of sun and shadows and fog. I had a great date Tuesday night, and lots of friends phoned and wrote, and flowers were delivered. I felt loved, and I'm grateful for that. It was a good day, after all.
(*I didn't really say that to him, only wanted to.)