Today is my son’s birthday. I spoke to him briefly for a few minutes around noon, when he could call. This is a far cry from the last 18 years of how he spent this day.
I woke up this morning with a sense of happiness and brood. Brood coz well, it was his birthday, and I hadn’t done anything special for him. I wasn’t riddled with guilt, which also slightly annoyed me, but I did feel strange. I hadn’t sent him a box of goodies like I did last year, and neither did I make sure he had a set of new clothes to wear like Ive always done, and there was no cake in sight like the last 17 years, and I haven’t hugged or kissed him like last year.
It sucks, on multiple levels.
It is also a growing experience.
Reflection and deprivation of the normalcy that we are so dependent upon leads to finding newer ways to grow and find a happy medium within those restraints.
Talking about birthdays, I remember a conversation I had ages ago as a newly wed with my mother-in-law. A gentle petite lady with large empathetic eyes, she had an unassuming sense of humor and allowance for all things that came her way. She was talking about kids growing up and leaving among other equally annoying characteristics that children who think they know it all succumb to, she said in a completely nonchalant way that these days we just wish on that day and then added :“Whenever my son comes home, it’s a festival!”
She was speaking for all moms.
Something I would realize much later on in life, 22 years to be precise.
Dates on the calendar, the Roman and the Hindu ones, and in all the wisdom combined by the stalwarts, seers and scientists alike, somehow fall short in front of a mother’s belief. A belief that can be projected to other relationships too of course, but a mom’s role trumps it all, and for very simple and obvious reasons.
November 22nd is a date. It’s a day when a 25 year old me delivered a very chubby and very impatient baby boy at Edith Cavell Hospital in Brussels. He woke up from his slumber within, got very impatient and had it with his cooped surroundings and decided to make his way out at 3.30 am and by 4.20 am he was out bawling his very strong lungs out and well, the rest is history. He now towers over me and has to bend some more to allow me to kiss his cheek and has all the arrogance of the youth, with an occasional showing of the grounding that we take for granted.
So, yes, I agree, calendar dates do not matter. People matter. People’s presence matters. Relationships matter and the history on which all of these are built is what matters. November 22nd is that moment in the revolution of earth around the sun, for logical practical purposes that the society has to conform to, but sometimes, it’s okay to give a rats ass to the date and just ever so slightly shift it to the moment of joy in being with the loved one.
This Wednesday as homes across the US will be prepping their Thanksgiving meals and welcoming family home, I will also be looking forward to welcoming our 19 year old home, with gratitude, and also to celebrate the day he became ours so he could spread so much joy and happiness to everyone he meets.