I just celebrated my fiftieth birthday last weekend…on my fifty-second birthday.
Since I didn’t have a huge celebration when I turned fifty, I’m allowed to do that, right?
I considered celebrating my fortieth but thought that might be pushing it. I look more fifty, and sometimes I act more like I’m three.
I’m gullible and silly, sometimes shy, sometimes too talkative, and I giggle too much.
I can’t remember things I’m told to do.
My attention span is close to nothing.
I like to skip.
Most days I could use a nap.
And, I love a good celebration with cake.
This year, my birthday celebration went on for a few days.
Larry invited some friends over for a little gathering the night before. He did a great job planning dinner and tunes.
On my actual birthday, Alli made me homemade waffles with fruit, put ice cream in my coffee, and served it in bed with flowers on the tray.
She also took me out to see Brave. I love a good Disney movie, and this one did not disappoint. (How odd to have my child paying my way into the show.)
Some of my cow-orkers (one of my favorite typos) spoiled me the day after my birthday with treats, and enough confetti on my desk and counters to keep me cleaning for months. ☺
That night, Alli and her friend Mackenzie took me out to terrorize the general public. (This really is hard to explain, but it involves pranks.)
For the final celebration, on Tuesday, Larry took me on a fine date to the opening night of The Nutty Professor. It is directed by Jerry Lewis, who starred in the original movie in 1963, the year I turned 3. Eddie Murphy had the lead in the film remake in 1996. That was the year Alli turned 3.
See, this is how the birthday thing goes with me. I start adding up years and thinking of how old I was when this and that happened, and I always find some strange if not funny irony in it all.
Birthdays, holidays, and vacations always make me reflect upon my life and think about the passage of time. Seriously, your mind can sort of go nutty if you let it.
While I (Queen for the Day) lounged in bed waiting on my breakfast to arrive on Sunday, I looked around our room at some of the souvenirs of my life. These are things I see every single day and yet rarely stop to think about…
pictures from trips, stuck around the mirror
ticket stubs from shows and movies
books I’ve read
my grandmother’s needlepoint
colorful bead necklaces made and given with love by my child
our framed wedding invitation
my mother’s rocking chair
our engagement photo (Were we really that young?)
another needlepoint by my first grade teacher
Alli’s baby photo
a collage of us in Colorado for our second honeymoon
stuffed animals from my childhood
a medal from the half marathon
a chair my grandfather made for my Dad when he was little
the chest full of dolls and other gifts my parents brought to me from their trips to faraway places
a jewelry holder from some dear childhood friends
angel wings and a couple of sock monkeys from another
a pencil holder from yet another brought to me from her homeland of Japan
my Dad’s old ink well
a pen that Larry and Alli gave to me the year my book came out
my beach hat
my pig collection (I know, I know.)
This is just in our bedroom!
My house is a dang museum of artifacts and treasures from our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
I thought of the pets I’ve had in my life. Too many to name them all, but I did think of each dog…Lady, Rebel, Brandy, Muggs, Sugar Bear and Bella Bunny.
I thought of each of the eleven homes I’ve lived in over these fifty-two years. I wondered who was living in the other ten now.
And since I was thinking nutty because it was my birthday, I wondered if there would be more dogs, other homes, more friends. Would we really move to Ecuador like we talk about? Where would Alli end up living once she’s grown?
Will I ever own a real pig?
This is when it hit me…a huge ah ha birthday moment. Even though I’m getting older, there’s still so much left. There are places to go, friends to make, things to experience that I just can’t even imagine now. So much of life is still a mystery to me.
In this new stage of my life, with my mostly empty nest, and with the hype about middle age it would be easy to feel like my life is over. But, I don’t feel that way. As a matter of fact, I feel like things make more sense now. The tough times have taught me to wait on the good. The good times are to be treasured.
Life, so they say, is but a game and we let it slip away.
Love, like the autumn sun, should be dyin’ but it’s only just begun.
Like the twilight in the road up ahead, they don’t see just where we’re goin’.
And all the secrets in the Universe, whisper in our ears
And all the years will come and go, take us up, always up.
By James Seals
(From We May Never Pass this Way Again, 1973)
Libby Lu who’s fifty-two