It crept up on me again. I wasn’t expecting it. I thought I was just overwhelmed – too much to do, too many details. Both true; neither my problem.
Turning 47 wasn’t supposed to be a big deal. We never much celebrated birthdays. Maybe an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins – perhaps on the exact day, maybe earlier, maybe later. It didn’t much matter to us.
Some guys rearrange their work or travel schedule to be home for the anniversary of their wife’s birth. Not me. Mine didn’t require it.
Lisa did throw me a party on my 40th. She catered bar-b-q and hired a man to play his guitar in our backyard. My father-in-law passed out beer on our front porch as our guests arrived. My parents manned the kitchen. Lisa and I worked the crowd – friends from all the corners of our lives.
So why the weepiness for me? I heard the same song last week with no affect. This week is different.
Maybe I was sad because Lisa never got her guitar player in the backyard. She didn’t quite make it to 40.
Maybe it’s because I’m the only one still celebrating birthdays. Maybe it drags up the anger and the frustration that the world just isn’t fair. Why couldn’t we add her years to mine and divided by 2? 40 years for her, 80 for me – 60 for each of us. That seems more fair.
No. She didn’t get to celebrate 47. She also didn’t get to pick out an outfit for the middle school dance with Stephanie tonight or quiz Michelle on her continents and oceans. She didn’t get to read, with pride, DJ’s paper on the Iliad. She didn’t even get to go on the Target run to buy the gargantuan package of toilet paper, giggling all the way through the store.
All of that is in a knot deep, deep within me – the anger, the frustration, the regret, the sadness. Occasionally some of it comes out. But not all. There are parts of the wound that are so deep, they’ll never see the light of day.
Most of the time it won’t matter. Mostly, it won’t be visible to the naked eye. But a few will see, and me – able to compare now with then.
My day is over. The cake is gone, and the knot tucked neatly beneath my spleen. It’ll come back out; I just don’t know when.