My Birthday!

Today, I turned 35. What a difference a year makes. Here is last year’s birthday post.

It has been a source of major distress for me in the days leading up to this birthday for two main reasons.

#1: I mean, come on. 35 year old single mother. Just that additional year sounds worse. Hopeless. All of this was imposed on me, my worst nightmare, and I’m sort of left alone to figure it all out. Now I’m another year older. Further away from my previous life. At this point I feel like I’m destined to be a single mother forever. I’ve always been a planner, and being suddenly thrust into unchartered waters without a map and a plan makes me uncomfortable.

#2: These dates/milestones are difficult for people dealing with grief. It’s a reminder that I’m on that train moving forward, whether I like it or not, and my deceased loved one (Kenneth) would never be getting on that train again. He never knew me as 35. I was 24 when we met. I’m getting older. He’s frozen in time. Yesterday I had the sudden thought that one day I will be older than he ever was. I felt compelled to visit him (on my birthday??!!), so my youngest and I did while we were waiting to pick up my oldest child from his coding class.I don’t know why it was so emotional for me. I guess I just missed him and wished he was here to celebrate with me.

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Last year, a journal Kenneth bought me for my birthday

We went to L.A. to hike at Griffith Park. Well, that didn’t pan out. A parking situation, traffic, and not being able to take the trail we had planned sent us back to the drawing board. Plan B was to go find The Last Book Store in downtown L.A. We found it. It was awesome. I spent way too much (I have a serious love affair with books. We can’t get enough of each other.).

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We headed off to Little Tokyo to have some Japanese food. Long story short, and this is really the story of my life, plans at the ramen place didn’t pan out and we ended up eating at Johnny Rockets (mediocre junk food) in freaking Little Tokyo. And because I’ve developed such a great sense of humor with life, we had an enjoyable time.

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Sooooooo…tomorrow, we’ll continue festivities with the hike we were supposed to take (at a much closer destination), and who knows what else. Maybe gardening. Maybe a ramen place. Maybe just grocery shopping and laundry. I’m okay with that too.

 

 

3 comments

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  1. Graham

    Let me first wish you a very happy… belated.. time zone/other country Happy Birthday.. In true UK “fashionable” speak..

    Happy Birthday to you
    Squashed tomatoes and stew
    Bread and butter in the gutter
    Happy Birthday to you…
    Happy Birthday Teresa

    35 you say…. so 3 and 5 = 8… So you’re an 8 year old child at heart girl then.. Cool..

    “Firsts”… are hard… Birthdays, Xmas, Valentine’s day, even pancake day..!! Not sure you have pancake day in the states..?.. I’ll celebrate it on your behalf if not lol.. My Sister’s daughter, Lucy, had her “first” birthday without Fiona last week. A few days before, the pressure was so much.. she went into total meltdown..! Shes 7 years old.! It sounds bad.. but I can count on so many hands.. ok, I only have two of them, but so many hands the number of firsts I’ve had to.. well.. suffer..! Maybe that should read endure thinking about it.

    Firsts, even 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths.. are still hard..! But it does get better.. it’s just hard to see that.

    Like you, I’m a planner… planning gets you everywhere.. doesn’t it.? then age and wisdom/experience gets you further.? You’re another year older… and another year wiser… It sounds macabre, but I have experienced/learnt so much from death on a personal level. Over time though.. I have grown to see it from a different perspective. It’s one of my most grounded traits. For example, last month.. I felt myself squinting at the battery percentage on my phone.. and thought.. mmmm.. I seem to be getting a few headaches.. short story.. I needed reading glasses… Now.. as a defiant Scotsman… there was no way I felt I wanted to accept glasses.. I was young..!! (Not that that makes the slightest of differences)… But.. on reframing my perspective.. I thought.. how lucky am I…!!! Fiona never got the chance to grow to an age where she could wear reading glasses… and as simple as that.. I felt comfortable accepting the change. It’s accepting the change, or at least learning the skills to accept the change that we all want.

    As you say, the train is moving… it keeps moving.. we can’t control the train, the speed, or even the destination.. but we can control our thoughts/view/experience while on the train. People we love, aren’t on the train with us.. and it hurts. People say loved ones are with you in spirit, and while that can be true.. in reality.. physically they’re just not. ! Another first for me, was my mum. My mum, died young, and last year, I was the same age as when she died.. this year, I’m one year older.. and yes.. it does make you very aware.

    I carried on reading your post and the planned hike to Griffith Park, that didn’t pan out, then little Tokyo.. that didn’t pan out.. but as you so rightly say.. A sense of humour in life.. literally gets you through so much.. it’s almost a life motto with me.

    Even though I’m a planner… and have been my whole life.. (A family history of service in the Royal Air Force).. I always remind myself of one thing.. A line by John Lennon…

    “Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans”

    I’ve learnt to accept this, in fact, I’d go further, I’ve learnt to grow from this. It’s my life planning pendulum. So I ride the train of life, I accept it keeps moving regardless.. and now I learn to enjoy the journey.

  2. Athina

    Teresa, happy belated birthday!! I appreciate your every post. I really like how you are telling your story and I like that part how you’ve developed a great sense of humour with life. Even under such harsh circumstances. But then you know, humour tends to be a trait of really intelligent people 🙂

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