An Unexpected Gift

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So, here I am, another year into my life and literally halfway or more into the grave. It’s been fifty-four glorious years since I had my first slap on the rump to make me wail. Five years after that, I received another slap on the rump, but that had nothing to do with my mom’s vagina and had more to do with my poor attitude. And then many years beyond that— Hmmm, nope, nevermind, we aren’t going to talk about any of the other rump slapping episodes because nobody really wants to know.

Yesterday began as an uneventful birthday. I didn’t have a dance pencilled in with the tribes of Pygmy’s in the Congo, or a swim with the sharks in Fiji. But, to be fair, I did eat a banana split for breakfast with mountains of whipped cream and a big fat olive on top. I even ate it before I created my first poop emoji of the day. So, there it was, a big green glistening vegetable atop of some cream, and then it was gone in a crushing moment of daring. And… since no one else was there to say it, “Congratulations to me.” Eating olives and ice cream took a special kind of courage. 

Fast forward midday into my birthday and you would have found me writing and alternately taking the dogs out to poop and pee. I was on my own for the next few days, Rick, my hubby had gone to work and wouldn’t be back. The day was mine. What to do? Besides writing and finding excuses to not write, I mean, well, it was my birthday. Shouldn’t I do something extravagant? 

“Ping,” said my phone as though answering my question in the form of a text. It was my daughter letting me know that Julie, my granddaughter, was sick and needed to stay home from school. My daughter Megan didn’t ask me to come and help. Yet, as I eyed the text, the hamster wheel inside my brain creaked to life, and as it spun my grey-haired old rodent squeaked, “Emma has dance tonight, you should offer to spend time with Julie, so Megan doesn’t have to bring a sick kid to dance or have Emma miss dance class.” And so a few hours later, I was snuggled up to Julie on the couch while her mom and her sister, Emma were away fulfilling dreams of a future hip hop star. After all, Emma is three, and at that age, dreams still have plenty of potentials to manifest. Gotta keep the dreams alive. 

Fortunately for me, probably due to the cosmic fact it was my birthday, Julie’s continuous puking had ceased and desisted. The magical powers of youth prevailed, and she had recovered. I considered this a grand boon and a wonderful birthday gift. My distress over my lack of opportunity to dance with Pygmy’s and swim with sharks had gone. Before long at Julie’s insistence, we had left the couch and made a blanket fort under the dining room table. Soon we found ourselves colouring harlequin masterpieces by the mystical light of a flashlight. As we huddled together under the ancient wooden piece of furniture, I looked up and banged my head. Warm memories flooded my heart as I recalled  playing in amongst all the nooks and crannies of this smoothly polished table. Many years ago, I too had lounged under this table as I played with barbies and hid out with colouring books. This table was part of our family history, it had been my grandparents, and then my parents, and it was now my daughter’s. My grandparents and parents were all gone now, moved on to wherever bright spirits go. And now, by a twist of fate, I sat in the shadows of the past making new memories with a cherished young one.  The circle of life continues and my birthday was blessedly complete. 

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