I've always been a big fan of my birthday, a great excuse for a party for a true party girl at heart. So after my mellow 40th, I thought I'd get a little wild and crazy for my 41st. Little did I know what was around the next corner.
So my reflections today have led me down some rough paths. The past couple of years have been full of primers. I am 41 and have lost someone that I thought I'd have beside me for another 40 years. That is a loss from which I will never fully recover. I've left one career and while I did stumble into another one that I love, I wonder if it is right for me for the long term. And I have had cancer. I will be in treatment for cancer until I'm 46. If I'm in the majority and make it to 46.
After dinner tonight, Claire climbed into my lap and I held her and tried with all my power to wrap her in my love, tangibly, physically. I want to watch her and Jacob grow up, be there with them while they do it. And I might not. Now I realize that any one of us might not be here tomorrow, or in a year, or in five. But my "might" is a little mightier than most lately, and sometimes it brings me to tears.
Other reflections today have been less sorrowful. Lying in bed with Claire while she fell asleep, I was thinking about trying to pay attention to each moment. It's hard, and I think it has gotten harder as I've gotten older. Looking out Claire's window at the leaves moving in the breeze, I remembered lying in my own little bed in Five Islands, appreciating the rustle of the oak leaves in the summer just outside my window. Getting out of bed then and going downstairs and out the kitchen door, to sit on the steps and breathe deeply the summer air, stare at the calm, sparkling water of Gott's Cove. I can't see the ocean from my house now, but I can sit and gaze down the long field of gardens, apple trees, and lilacs at a mountain's peak. Life is very, very good.
One resolution I made today is to do something I have been thinking about since Jacob was born, almost 10 years ago. I thought then that it would be a gift to him to write him a letter on his birthday each year. To tell him about the past year, about his character and personality and antics. To tell him once again how much I love him and the ways I love him and that I will love him forever. Almost 10 years have passed, and I haven't written a single letter to either of my kids. But sitting there with Claire tonight, it was clear to me that there was no better way to insure that I could pass along my love made tangible, no matter what happens. And it will be a gift not just to them, but also to myself.