Turning 40

Yesterday I celebrated my fortieth birthday. Forty trips around the sun. Forty years of trying to figure out who I am and what I believe.

I had originally planned to write a post about being more aware of my mortality, accepting the reality that I will never have children, and how something on my body hurts almost every single day, but after gathering with a large group of friends Saturday evening to ring in my fifth decade, I realized I am far too blessed to be complaining about the little things.

My mother planned a birthday lunch for me on Friday, where I joined my sister, niece, nephews, and grandmother for pizza, cake, and ice cream.

Honey worked very hard to pull off a surprise party for me at one of my favorite restaurants on Saturday. I thought we were only meeting 3 or 4 people for dinner, so it was wonderful to walk in and see a long table filled with friends with big smiles on their faces! We talked and laughed throughout the meal, and then traveled to Betty’s for cake and ice cream.

Sunday brought a lunch with church friends, tons of text messages with birthday wishes, and visits from family. More celebrating will come tonight when we visit another friend’s house for dinner. I will probably have gained 10 pounds by the time the festivities conclude.

I truly have so much to be grateful for. I am happy with my career, my home, and my partner. Not only was it the week to celebrate my birthday, it has also been 9 years since I met the love of my life. I can’t imagine living without him, and I hope I never have to.

At the risk of raising the ire of the universe, I am content. Here’s to another forty trips around the sun…

Blogbits

Windowgate 2011 – The newest set of windows are installed and look fantastic! This installer seemed to really know what he was doing, and even though we went with the same window brand the second time around, they were sized correctly and the house is even quieter.

Kindle – Honey gave me a Kindle e-reader for my birthday last week, and he was really happy to actually be able to surprise me for once. I absolutely adore the thing. The first book I chose to download is currently in the top spot on Amazon – Water for Elephants. The writing is brilliant, so I’m wondering how the recently-released movie bearing the same name will compare. Books are typically much better, aren’t they?

Birthday – We celebrated my birthday so many times over the past week that I’m a little scared to get on the scales, but I felt very loved throughout the various lunches, dinners, and parties. I am fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful people.

Tick-tock

I turned 37 this week. It was, without a doubt, the most difficult birthday that I’ve had thus far. Tears were falling when I went to bed the night before, and still streaming down my cheeks as I drove to work the next morning. Nothing had happened to upset me, but this anniversary of my birth caused me to reflect on my life in ways that I found uncomfortable and depressing.

We all have an idea of how we think our life will go – sort of a road map for getting from youth to old age. Most of us follow a path that closely resembles those taken by our parents. Education, a career, marriage, children, grandchildren, retirement, growing old with someone we love. I realized early on that my life would be much different than that of my parents, my sibling, and my friends. I thought I was okay with that, but the older I get the more I feel that I’m missing out on some of the amazing experiences that so many people take for granted.

I worry that I will die childless and alone. It torments me that at the age of thirty-seven I’m still not married and don’t have any children. When I first met my partner back in 2005, I remember telling him that I firmly believed gay marriage would be a reality within five years. Wishful thinking on my part. I am beginning to wonder if we will ever be able to get legally married in our lifetime.

I read once that a person becomes aware of their homosexuality and infertility simultaneously. Where straight couples might “accidentally” discover themselves expecting a child, same-sex partners understand that reproduction will be virtually impossible. Regardless of the various available options, it really pisses me off that no matter how much time and money we spend trying to expand our family, I will never be able to look at our child and see a combination of our features. Our child might have Honey’s chin or my eyes, but it won’t have both. Not that those things really even matter, but there has to be an element of comfort in knowing part of you will live on in your children long after you’ve left this world.

It still amazes me that people think homosexuality is a choice. As if anyone in their right mind would choose a life so full of hardship, despair, and disappointment. Even so, I know that I am one of the lucky ones. I have an amazing man to share my life with – someone who knows my faults and loves me in spite of them. I have a great job, a lovely place to live, and some truly wonderful friends.

I would just love to have a little person to share it all with, to spoil rotten, to chase around the yard, and to cherish unconditionally. Maybe one day…

Later letter

Tucked neatly inside the birthday card my sister handed me on Saturday was a smaller envelope, sealed and marked “Later Letter.” I looked at her with a quizzical expression and asked what it meant. “It’s a letter to read later,” she explained. I tore it open as soon as I got a moment to myself, uncertain if the contents would be good or bad. Here’s what it said:

Dear Brian,

As I thought back over the years, life has dealt us some hard blows, hasn’t it? It doesn’t seem to be getting any easier, either. Sometimes I wonder where I’m gonna wind up.

Since I turned 30 it seems my life is changing along with my body and mind. LOL! But one thing that will never change (unless it gets stronger) is my love for you! I am sorry for anything I’ve ever done to hurt you!

I’m trying to raise my kids the way we were raised, and things have changed so much since we were kids, it’s hard to know how sometimes. But I never meant to make you feel like I am “holier than thou” or “self-righteous.” Please don’t ever feel that way.

You are the best brother I could ever have asked for and I wouldn’t trade you for anybody in the world! My only prayer is for our family to make it to heaven!!

I am sorry for the pain you have suffered throughout life. I would take every pain from you if I could. But if we can only make it, I know God will do just that for you!

I don’t know how to handle alot of situations and may not always do it right, but please don’t hold it against me. I want you to know you are my best friend (except for Hubby) and I want to spend eternity in heaven with you.

We’ve only got one chance to do this, Brian! Let’s give it our very best! We’ve been through alot in our lifetime, but it will be worth it all to hear Him say, “Well done!”

I love you,
Sis

Sweet, huh? It’s amazing how the years can mend relationships and bring people closer together.

Ninety years

Note: Mrs. J’s funeral is tomorrow, and I can’t think of a better way to describe her and how much we cared about her than this post from 7 years ago.

Today was our neighbor’s 90th birthday – a milestone that we figured deserved a celebration. We started talking about what to do months ago, but being the eternal procrastinator that I am, I didn’t start pulling things together until three days ago. Somehow, I was able to plan a surprise birthday party in a town 25 miles away that not only included decorations, but also 14 of her family members and friends. To say that I’m proud of myself would be an understatement, but enough about me. This was an evening to celebrate a phenomenal woman and to reflect on all the ways she’s impacted those around her.

mj_90thMrs. J is like a surrogate great-grandmother to me. She was there when I was a child living in the house on the other side of her, and she’s been here ever since I moved back to the neighborhood. She loves me like I am one of her family, and never hesitates to express those sentiments to those that actually share her DNA. She even gets a kick out of thinking it makes them a little jealous.

She feeds me homemade fried chicken, sweet potatoes, and chocolate pie. She joins in my complaining about everything from the price of gasoline to how long it’s been since we’ve had rain. She never backs down on something she believes in, no matter how archaic or irrelevant it might seem decades later.

She thinks people show too much skin on television and talk too dirty, but she never misses her favorite soap opera (she calls them “stories”). She met and immediately liked my female pastor, but told me that women shouldn’t be preachers. She doesn’t believe in interracial relationships, but she’s going to vote for a biracial presidential candidate. She tells me that she doesn’t care about “how I am,” while complaining about the declining values of other Americans.

She loves to watch movies, even though it’s easy to tell that she has no idea how a DVD works. She seems somewhat fascinated by computers, although it’s clear that she doesn’t understand how the internet works. She laughs at me for constantly swapping cell phones as she pushes the buttons on her clunky handset that doesn’t have caller ID. She didn’t even get touch tone on her phone service until a few years ago because it was going to add $1 to her monthly bill.

She worries that tree roots are attacking the foundation of her house and that moles are destroying the foundation of her detached garage. She worries that her copper pipes are leaking and frequently has one of us check the water meter for unexplained dial movement.

She never ever stops working in the yard, even though her doctors, nurses, and physical therapists have all joined in chorus to tell her to stay in the house and use her walker at all times. She can work a hoe better than most people 50 years her junior and she has the arm muscle to prove it. She cleans house like the Queen’s coming over, with particular chores assigned to particular days.

She keeps leftover vegetables in the freezer and combines them when she has enough to make soup. She makes fabulous fried green tomatoes and a mean pan of cornbread. She keeps soft drinks in the refrigerator just because she knows we like them.

So tonight we celebrated this incredible lady; her quirks, her contradictions, her passion, and her compassion. We expressed our affection with song and brightly-colored helium balloons, with strawberry cake and cards and presents – all a feeble attempt to make her feel as special as she makes any one of us feel on a daily basis.

If her smiles were any indication, we did.

Life goes on

Honey is leaving me for a woman. A much, much older woman. And they’re moving in together right next door! Oh, the drama!!

Okay… he’s just going to be staying with our elderly neighbor lady at night for the next two weeks as she transitions from the nursing home to being on her own. Her niece insisted that she have someone with her at night for a while and once Mrs. J realized that a complete stranger might be staying in her house, she begged and pleaded for Honey to do it. Of course, he relented, because he just can’t resist those older ladies.

Anyway, today is her 89th birthday and she’s officially coming home! We’re all really excited about it and will be having a few of her friends over for a small homecoming/birthday celebration this evening. Nothing too raucous, because you know how wild and crazy the elderly can get after a few rounds of cake and punch.

Last night, we had our (hopefully) final visit with her at the nursing home. She’s been full of anticipation over the last few days and it’s really just hitting her that she actually gets to come home. To say she’s excited would be a gross understatement.

As we got in to the car after the visit, I told Honey I would actually miss the place. Considering how dreadful I found it all to be a few months ago, that’s a pretty big statement. It’s just that there are several faces that I’ll miss seeing regularly. The obnoxious little lady across the hall that can be so ornery one minute and smiling so sweetly the next. Some of the nurses, especially my cousins that work there, but also the one from New Jersey with the fabulous accent who told Mrs. J she should let her frozen-solid ice cream “defrowst”. Maybe I’ll pop back in to say hi from time to time.

So, it’ll just be me and my three babies for the next several nights. I’ll have plenty of opportunity to catch up on my reading of Infidel, since I’ve fallen behind most of the class. Our notebook computer can still surf wirelessly from next door, so at least Snookums will have internet access.

Life goes on. Some things change, some stay the same, but it’s all good.