I was wakened in the early morning by two children full of kisses—one of them flopped his entire weight on my bladder, as is his tradition. My email fills with well-wishes and MY DAD PHONED to wish me happy birthday, at eight-thirty in the morning! Scott and kids arranged an elaborate breakfast tray with “46” spelled out in blueberries on top of my pancakes. Children thought a drippy-sugary breakfast needed a dessert, and so arranged a bowl of candy hearts topped with a candy cane: leftovers! Children after my own heart. Mardi Gras beads, cardboard bookmarks with hand-drawn designs, candles in my pancakes, and Chinese cookie fortunes adorning everything. Be sure and put them back in the jar, I say. My sentimental treasures, these fortunes.
From now on your kindness will lead you to success.
Your dearest wish will come true.
You have an active mind and a keen heart.
Keep your feet on the ground even though friends flatter you.
And my favorite, Friends long absent are coming back to you.
Friends have indeed flattered me to the point my feet can barely touch ground (you know who you are), and I’m working on kindness. Friends long absent are showing up—I joke that I’m reading my life like I read a John Irving novel, that I never know who will show up from the earlier chapters and I expect all the plotlines to converge soon.
My brother phones to say it’s a good thing the kids spelled 46 in berries instead of candles.
My writing life is an unwieldy beast! I’ve been working with one particular essay since October, waiting for it, watching it and this past week it exploded into something wonderfully different. Can I say perhaps I’ve never really revised an essay before? Not like this, anyway. The process is terribly exciting, a bit frightening to see my original creation in pieces everywhere, my reading time and parenting time decimated by my pursuit of this story. Somehow I need to pull myself back into daily life (ie dinners, cleaning, tasks to support family life) while catching up on reading, drafting a critical paper, and continuing to work on this one essay. Life as a grad student: it doesn’t all fit.
Good thing I love it.
This week my daughter starred as Urd the Norn of the Past in a production of The Fate of Baldur (A tale of the end of the Norse Gods), and Brendan got a call about his first little league practice, and Scott held parent teacher conferences. I am looking into summer camps, summer responsibilities, and setting the spring and summer clothes in order. It might be a good day to set up the vegetable garden (better late than never) and maybe turn the compost, a great birthday tradition.
Assuming I recover from breakfast in bed. How lucky to have a Saturday birthday!
The fortune taped on the back side of my cardboard bookmark reads, Treasure what you have. Okay. I’m up for that.