Sunday, November 7, 2010

Birthday Wisdom

I know I've posted this before, but it's one of my favorite photos.  Tonya never had a bigger grin in her life than on her first birthday in the United States when she found out about this wonderful tradition of showering birthday girls with love and attention and presents.

“Today is my birthday and all that I want
Is to dig through this big box of pictures
In my kitchen ‘til the daylight’s gone”
-- Kristian Bush/Jennifer Nettles “Very Last Country Song”

     Yes, today is my birthday.  But not just mine.  My daughter and I have shared this special day for the last fifteen years.  Being born on the same day made us so much alike (a blessing and a curse), but we absolutely stand at polar opposites when it comes to the menu for our birthday feast.  She wants steak and a plain cake with minimal or no icing; I want the dinner my mother always fed me – fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy – plus a gooey, sweet Black Forest Cake or something similar with enormous amounts of sugar.  As a good parent, however, I made the ultimate sacrifice for my child and usually gave up my favorite food for the sake of her birthday dinner.

    Now, with my daughter several hundred miles away at school, I’m going to have myself a carb-laden fried chicken blowout for my birthday (and yes – to answer my sister – there will be lots of gravy).  But I’ll also be thinking of T on our special day.  Since one thing we have in common is a love of music, I’m sending her some words from our favorite singers to live by in the coming year.  And you might find something that hits you just so as well.

Help me if you can/ I’m feeling down/ and I do appreciate you being round
-- John Lennon/ Paul McCartney “Help”
Just remember, T, it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help.  The world is full of people with wonderful experiences and bucketfuls of knowledge that mean we never have to reinvent the wheel.  If someone gives advice, that doesn’t mean he or she is trying to run your life.  Let someone else carry part of the load sometimes.

Guess what, honey, clothes don’t just wash themselves!/ Neither do dishes, neither does the bathroom floor// So, now if anyone asks, not that they would/ I’ll be down in Mississippi and up to no good
-- Kristian Bush/Kristen Hall/Jennifer Nettles “Down In Mississippi”
Keep this one in reserve for when you have a child of your own.  For myself, I’d change it to “I’ll be at a Keith Urban concert and up to no good.”  But you already know that.

And speaking of KU –
Days go by/ I can feel ‘em flying/ Like a hand out the wind as the cars go by
-- Monty Powell and Keith Urban “Days Go By”
We sang this at so many concerts.  Don’t get so caught up in making all your plans for the future that you forget to roll down the window and stick that hand out.  Right now is just as important as tomorrow and next year.  Don’t be too impatient; you’ll get there soon enough.

I know you can hear me/ You don’t have to say a thing/ My love is stronger, lasts a lot longer/ Than your anger or your pain
-- Radney Foster “I Know You Can Hear Me”
During that first year after the adoption when we were learning to be a family, your dad was trying to make you sit on the stairs for a two-minute time out.  You fought every second of it – refusing to listen, testing our commitment to you, and daring us not to love you.  You later asked your dad in a jumbled mix of English and Russian if we were going to send you back because we were angry.  Well, like it or not we’re in this for the long haul.  But the road has gotten less bumpy, don’t you think?

Life is short/Even on its longest day
-- John Mellencamp “Longest Day”
This will mean a lot more thirty years down the line when you’re my age.  So hang onto it for the time when you’ll need it.

     After I make a phone call to my favorite birthday partner today, I’ll put on some music and heat up the oil for my decadent delight.  I’ll think about past years and perhaps pull out those pictures.  And I’ll start planning for many more.  Happy Birthday to me.

Please don't retouch my wrinkles. It took me so long to earn them.

Italian actress Anna Magnani

They say that age is all in your mind. The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body.


If you have any great birthday quotes or words of wisdom passed on to you or that you tried to share with your own children – or any great birthday story – share them in the comment box here.  Thanks for reading and sharing.

1 comment:

Melinda said...

Happy Birthday to you and Tonya. Wish she had been here.
The gravy was great, but I would have come even if there wasn't any...

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