by Linda Shaffer
I have a birthday every November. It’s always two days after my oldest daughter’s birthday. Some years I celebrate with the turkeys and some not. Funny how that works. I’m not afraid of birthdays because I feel like I have earned every darned one of them that I can get. It also means I’m still alive, which is something to celebrate every day. Like it or not, come January you’ll be looking toward adding another number to whatever age you are in the new year. Me too. For some of us, I’ve already provided that service.
Right around the first week in December each year I buy a new calendar for the coming year. I take down my old calendar, unwrap the new one and start creating a new year. I write down any new doctor appointments or official stuff first. Then I copy an assortment of birthdays and anniversaries which brings me a great deal of happiness and a lot of good memories. For some of you, I get to celebrate your birthday before you do. In rare casesa the new numbers give me the giggles because at least a few of you are older than I am. It’s a party of one and I wonder if I should start making it a little more festive with decorations, music, cake and maybe a pointy hat. I left out ponies because they would make a mess around here and can be feisty. I was reminded of that when I wrote in my youngest daughter’s December birthday and then I laughed and laughed.
One year, that red-headed daughter wanted a pony for her birthday. I have a great fondness for redheads but they can be downright bullish when they want something. If your child repeats how she wants a pony in at least three hundred different and sometimes very loud ways, it is my experience that a parent weakens and gives in. We got the pony, the saddle and necessary stuff. We got her on the pony, where she refused further guidance. She prompted the pony forward and he balked. She tried again and again until he complied by going under a wooden hitching rail a few feet away and scraping the source of irritation off the saddle on his back. There was a thud followed by a lot of crying and no more pony riding. You only mess with a redhead or a Shetland pony once.
You can tell that this ritual of writing in future birthdays brings back a lot of birthdays past. It also reminds me that I am a ‘cougar’ for one month and two days every year. Yes, it is during this time that I am an older woman married to a younger man. On Christmas day, all that ends and we’re back to being the same age. When I met him in 1979, I learned that he had never had a real birthday party. I took care of that problem the following year and for many years after. I made authentic enchiladas for the crowd of well-wishers at that first party in Oceanside and hung a pinata from the kitchen ceiling. It was filled with chocolates, canned smoked oysters and Copenhagen tobacco. A good time was had by all for several hours. Nowadays, we’re lucky to make it across the driveway to the neighbor lady’s house. We’re even luckier if a friend or two stops by. It is still a day for celebration, but the party style has changed.
I love to celebrate wedding anniversaries in advance as I go from one month to the other. The idea that two people can live together for many years makes me thoughtful and happy. I always do a quick scan of notable holidays for each month too. This year I got a pretty wild calendar which lists something to celebrate for every day of the year. I already called my mother to let her know that her 93rd birthday will be on Macadamia Nut Day. This sounds a lot yummier than my birthday which is on Espresso Day.
The hard part of this calendar tradition is when death changes the order of things. A very good friend won’t be getting older in the new year but just seeing her name was enough to start a good talk about how much we have and will miss her. I guess that’s part of the new year, too.
Have a great week my friends and please get a calendar for 2022. It looks like a pretty good year to me.