A Birthday

29 Oct

This week I turned 32, and I celebrated by spending a quiet day with two of my favorite people, my parents. It was the first birthday I’d been able to spend with them since I was in high school, which made it very special for me. It was very special for them as well, because I’m much nicer to them now than when I was a teenager, so I said “I love you” and things of that sort instead of snorting “whatever” and following it up with an eyeroll, like I did in my younger days.

I like making resolutions on my birthday. It’s such an excellent chance to start afresh with another year on the horizon. I also like making resolutions on New Year’s Eve, after confession, at Easter Vigil, before eating breakfast, while taking a shower and just after petting my cat…because I’m a very resolute person like that. So here are this year’s resolutions. I’ll try my best to keep it simple. You can thank me later.

1. Pray more

When my brother and I were young we devised one succinct prayer to cover all of our bases and still leave us plenty of time to watch He-Man.  It went something like this; “Dear God, please protect everyone we love from being hurt, captured or killed. Amen.”

Why “captured” you ask? It seems that as children, our mother instilled an overly healthy fear of kidnapping in us,  so much so, that we were known to run screaming from anyone driving a mini-van.  With so many kidnappers lurking around our small town, offering up prayers for protection from capture seemed like the least we could do.

I’d like to think that my prayer life has evolved since then, but in truth it’s actually devolved, with my daily recitations going something like this; “Dear God, please *yawn* *sniffle* *sigh* zzzzz….ummmm, Amen.”

So this year, I’m going to keep working on my prayers, daily. Who know? By my 33rd birthday maybe I’ll be able to get through an entire rosary. And in the meantime if you’re one of my loved ones, and you manage to avoid capture for another year, well, I think you know who you have to thank for that.

2. Fear less

I’ve always been quite an anxious person. My mother tells me that as a young girl I would stand at the screen door, my face pressed hard against it, waiting for my father to come home from work. In truth I was waiting in fear that he wouldn’t come home, because of some terrible misfortune. My anxiety would mount with each minute he was late until I found myself in a frenzy.

I still do this today. And now, as a mother, I find that my fear for my child often overwhelms me. I often see myself hovering, protecting, jumping in to save her from minor impediments and wringing my hands every time she attempts something remotely adventurous. And I know this isn’t good. Because today’s adventure is walking around the coffee table, but tomorrow’s adventures are driving a car, going to college and falling in love. Sometimes I wonder how on earth I will cope with these things when I can’t even allow her to eat a chunk of cracker without having a mild coronary?

The answer is I won’t. I won’t cope with any of these things if I don’t let go of my fears. Not only will I not cope, but my fear will rob from my daughter’s joy while navigating though these adventures.  And I know there is bound to be joy in these things for her, even more so if her mother isn’t clinging to her leg, bawling, while she’s on her first date. So, while she’s still young, and before I really embarrass her, I resolve to make peace with my fear.

Now, because no post is complete without pictures, here a a few from my very special day.

"Take away this safety gate and have no fear, Mom!"

Flowers from my wonderful brother and sister-in-law.

Me, another year older, still no wiser.

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