Last night we celebrated a double birthday dinner for my Best Friend in the World and my eldest, Frasier’s 24 years, a fact that fills me with such strong emotion that I am unsure how to carry it or how to process.
It’s such a cliché to hear so many mums lamenting throughout the years about how fast time goes and since this is one of the worst things that one can say to a new mother strung out on no sleep I can proudly say, that I have never said it myself – honestly – but the fact is? It’s the icy, shocking, can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-ME truth. One minute I was running down the street with a forgotten lunch bag or volunteering on a school bus trip, breathing in the heady smell of little-kids’-feet and strawberry Chapstick for two hours and now here I am surrounded by colleagues and a Significant Other who are all quoting gloomy economic forecasts, consulting charts and obsessing about retirement. How did I allow this passing of time to happen without holding on to key moments more tightly than I did? When am I ever going to be pretty now? Why do my ankles suddenly swell for no good reason, lending that camel-feet look to every outfit? Will I soon begin cultivating an interest in supportive underwear? When exactly is my writing career going to take off in earnest– and how long can I keep kidding myself that this is even a thing? I mean how pretentious to even try, my inner voices accuse darkly, pointing out the futility of this very blog, as a feeble exercise in self-absorption. Oh and why is it only about shaved or regular slice at the deli counter now, when it used to be about looking up from under my lashes at the swarthy and romance-cover-worthy butcher?
Now the butcher seems to be only eleven and wants me to hurry up, already, between the stone-roast ham or the Black Forest.
Today I am scared, broken and eerily fascinated that I have less years ahead of me than behind me.
I miss denial very much and wish that I could re-introduce that luxury into my life. The randomness of life is absolutely terrifying – yes, this is a recurrent theme for me – and as my Best Friend in the World intoned yesterday, we really must start making the most of each day because it is all anyone has. And, although she is not of a Buddhist persuasion, she does have to deal with death every day in her capacity as a neurologist and I know she is right as she is with so many things.
(As you can see, I am taking the advice to heart by whining online about my ankles when I should be out in the garden frolicking hedonistically in the rain or at least pricing out thangkas online before engaging in some really meaningful meditation.)
All of this aside, yesterday was a wonderful day with everyone in excellent spirits and the house full of warm, comforting smells and many conversations occurring at once and yet independently.
Even a small party like this one takes ages to organize and orchestrate but the important moments of the day like catching Frasier and Niles in deep conversation on the front porch calling each other “Man” (with “I love you” implied) my Best Friend in the World and I laughing at in-jokes over glasses of Prosecco and vintage blues thumping in the background and my new (because 6 years is still considered “new” after three decades with my starter husband) Significant Other, The General, becoming more and more comfortable with each family gathering as it comes and goes and making everyone laugh all link together to make something extremely important and tangible.
And again, this is all that any of us has – and despite all of my shortcomings, I do get that I am loved, regardless, and therefore already have a leg-up to being very lucky indeed.