Saturday, May 24, 2008

Age is Just a Number

Age is just a number, isn’t it? I’m turning 47 this month, on the 26th (Memorial Day). What does my age tell you about me? Other than the fact that you now know I have spent 47 years in this life, it hasn’t told you a goddamn thing about me, has it?

I’m told I look and act much younger than my age. How is a 47 year old person supposed to look or behave? I am simply being me; living my life as best I can. I do my best to live by the “golden rule” of treating those the way I wish to be treated. I’ve learned so much already in this life and know that I have so much more to learn. I’ve experienced some amazing highs and some incredibly sinking (or do I really mean stinking) lows. I’ve loved, and hated. Laughed and cried. I’ve experienced tremendous gain, only to see it all vanish from my grasp. I’ve lived my life thus far both cautiously and taken risks that I myself find hard to believe.

What I miss most are some traditions, one in particular, which my Mom started on our birthdays. As children still living at home, her tradition began with her reminiscing about the events that occurred on the day we were born. As adults, she turned to the phone. On the exact day - and time no less, of birth, she would begin to place phone calls throughout the day. Her calls typically went something like this: “Hi Son, its 4:30 and only a few hours now until you were born. I was getting nervous waiting for your father to get home,” or “Mark this is Mom and now its 6:15 and my water broke.” Finally, every birthday until she passed away seven years ago, at exactly 8:08 pm every May 26, wherever I was, I’d get this phone call, “My first born Son, you have arrived in this world! You are born! You have made me so happy and I’m proud of you and I love you Son. Happy Birthday. A Mother’s relationship with her first born is always special and unique and so is ours.”

My mother never looked her age nor did she adhere to someone’s idea of how a person of a particular age is supposed to act. She set such a good example for me. Not one single day goes by without me thinking about her; there are times when something “big” happens in my life and without thinking I’ll reach for the phone catching myself saying, “I’ve got to call Mom and tell her…” Does that ever change? Does that kind of impulse ever stop? I hope not.

My mom did the best she could when it came to raising me and my three siblings. Was she perfect? Not at all. Was our family dysfunctional? At times, yes. But I grew up and learned, going on and raising my own son, hopefully as good as, or better than I was raised. This birthday finds me feeling lonely. I miss having family around. My mother was the “glue” that kept our family of four siblings talking to one another. Once she was gone, we really did become unglued. My father and I have barely spoken to one another since her death. My sister, who moved from Milwaukee to Phoenix to be close to me chooses not to be in relationship with me at this time. No birthday calls from Mom or anyone in my family again this year. Instead, my partner and I will make the day ours. He always has some surprises for me and does his best to fill that void he knows exists in my heart. I love him for that and am grateful…

There. Now you know something about me! I’m 47 years old and oh so much more!

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