I'm going to ramble a bit today. I've decided I'm allowed.
It's October 23rd again. That always happens this time of year :) It's my birthday, and it feels kind of weird. My birthday always feels kind of weird for some reason. Kind of not quite normal.
I feel like my birthday two years ago was the last normal birthday I ever had. Which is sort of funny, because my dad had just died. So maybe my 25th wasn't the last normal one, my 24th was. Except that when I turned 24, my dad was being treated for brain cancer. Which is also abnormal (in every sense of the word). So maybe my last normal birthday was four years ago.
I'm not sure I can even remember four years ago. I'm sure I must. I'm sure something happened that year. As I recall, I had just graduated from beauty school, so I must have been happy. I think the lack of any strong memories of that year is probably a good sign that it really was my last normal birthday.
But the reason I think of 2008 as my last normal birthday is because it was two days after that birthday that I had one of those moments when you know the rest of your life is going to be marked by before and after. Two years ago, I found out I was pregnant. Two years ago, my vibrant, darling, cheerful little ray of sunshine was a jumble of dividing cells still a week away from a heartbeat. That seems crazy to me. I can hardly remember my life before Roo. Which is just as well, because it can't have been half as happy without her.
When I was about eight months pregnant, I bought a super cute outfit for Roo. It was size 3-6 months, and I decided it was going to be the outfit I dressed her in on my birthday. She would be 3 1/2 months old then, but I knew she was just going to be a tiny little thing and it would fit her. I remember thinking how much fun my birthday was going to be as a mommy. Instead of the usual boring picture of me, there would be a picture of me and my daughter. I could picture myself going out to eat, baby in tow, getting a free birthday dessert and a million compliments on my baby.
What's that saying again? Something like, "Man plans. God laughs."
Right after placement, I remember opening the wrong drawer in my dresser by mistake, and instead of my shirts, there were Roo's clothes. And right on top was the birthday outfit. It just about killed me. A few weeks later, on my birthday, I kept myself busy, but at one point I did go back to that drawer and pull out that little outfit. I wondered what Roo was wearing that day instead.
I've been thinking about that a lot this week. I don't know why. I guess because since I was seven or eight or so, I haven't had a birthday turn out the way I'd hoped or planned. Many of those years, it wasn't just a change of plans, but some ... some event, or something unhappy that made my birthday unhappy. Some years it might be something little, like the Yankees winning the world series. (That was a joke. Although I do hate the Yankees.) But there was the year the girls at my birthday party, spurred on by the suggestion of one girl in particular, passed around sheets of paper with everyone's names on them and rated them on looks, personality, popularity, and other things. There was the year that my mom, desperately worried about me, dragged me to the doctor, who prescribed antidepressants, which I still take ("Give 'em a year, 18 months tops, you'll be done with 'em," he said, back in 1998). There was the year that, on the way home from school, my parents and I were in a car accident. There was the year that my church choir practice ran late, and when I got home for my family party, I found that my extended family had already cut into my cake and some were ready to go home.
Birthdays and I don't get along.
Hmm. I'm sure there was a point to this post. Or then again, maybe there wasn't.
Gee, this is embarrassing.
Oh, I've got it! Birthdays. Right. So, I think of 2008 as my last "normal" birthday, but if I'm honest, last year was probably one of the best birthdays I've ever had. I think there's something to be said for that. Finding out I was pregnant was one of my life's defining moments. But I wouldn't trade any of the before for the worst day of the after. I am so much happier now. My life is so much better. I think the world is so much better, because it contains my favorite person in the world.
So, you know what? To heck with normal birthdays. The abnormal ones are exponentially better.
Okay. I'm done rambling. Thanks for reading.