Today I am 44.
43 has been the worst year of my life. The very very worst and I’ve had a few bad ones. Life gave me lemons this year and there was no way to turn them into lemonade or lemon cake or lemon anything. They piled up and rolled everywhere and rotted. I think I will be okay after all of this, but I don’t think I will ever come to place where I will be able to say, “Well, it was terrible, but it was worth it.”
In doing a quick refelction, I have deiscovered that years that are prime numbers do NOT work out for me. Here is a list:
I’m guessing 2 and 3 worked out okay. I don’t remember
When I was 5 my brother was born (sorry Pal) and my mom ended up being treated for melanoma the first time. It’s really heavy to have something like that on you when you’re five.
When I was 7 we moved from Ohio to Michigan leaving nearly all of my family behind.
When I was 11 my sister was NOT a brother and I had to share my room for ten years. Also, my Dad’s mom died.
When I was 13 I was 13 and don’t act like 13 is a good year.
When I was 17 my grandmother died.
I don’t even want to talk about the year that was 29 except to say it was not great. I had an ectopic pregnancy. Big Daddy’s job was a nightmare. We had a tenant in our Illinois house that wasn’t paying rent. I couldn’t get pregnant
I turned 31 the same year my Mom died.
I was 41 the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency.
And 43….shall be nameless.
Long story short, I am declining my 47th, 53rd and 57th year. Also my 61st, 63rd, 67th and every other prime number year between now and my death.
Last week, I sat on my therapists couch and we talked about my birthday. She asked about the grief wave of Big Daddy not being with me for my birthday. I realized that Big Daddy never made a big deal of my birthday. If we went out, I planned it. If we cooked in, I planned it. If a gift was purchased, I planned it. Or just bought it myself.
In the debris that follows in the wake of our marriage, it is easy to shift blame around like haphazardly stacked cargo. It’s easy to take more than is yours or shove more off onto your no longer partner. It is easy to victimize yourself. Blame tips as your boat rides the waves ahead of you and the only way to to have the whole mess not topple and capsize you is to stack things again, to reorder the whole mess. To look at the pile honestly and searchingly. To take the blame that is yours, but not one speck more nor less.
When you love someone, you overlook their faults and flaws. It is easy to say “Well, he’s spacey so he forgot to plan something” and to apply that balm to your hurt feelings. It is easy to say “Well, he shakes so he doesn’t take pictures” and apply that balm to the idea that maybe five pictures of you and your children exist in total. Yes, it’s true you didn’t like posing for them, but he could have said you were beautiful to him and that would have been enough.
It was, after all, what you said to him.
This year, I plan my birthday for myself like I did for the twenty years of marriage. This year, I have to apply no balm. First, the wound cannot be soothed with a balm of any kind but healing from the inside out. Second, I labor for myself and require no balm for the care I give to myself. I give myself what I need without hoping that the one was was supposed to love me the most would find his way to it.