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Monday, August 17, 2009

Birthday Interrupted

Birthday Interrupted

It’s Monday and I can’t complain. A lot of folks are fighting their way through layers of traffic this morning but I’m at my computer with coffee in hand. Life is good, at least for the moment. My mood is subject to change depending on the stubborn characters I meet throughout the morning and how much writing is accomplished by mid-afternoon.

This past weekend, I turned forty. It was an anticipated birthday because I’m ready to get on with living. You know, turn the big 4-0 and survive it. Surviving the day was pretty much the only thing accomplished.

Two days before my birthday, I went to the mountains to write. We took a recent long weekend there with our children and friends. While there, I found a cheap place on the river just perfect for a writer’s retreat.

With the life-changing day approaching, I left for Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Life was really sweet for a little over sixty hours. Then, the husband calls and informs of a ballgame-scrimmage along with a meet and greet at the high school.

And just like that. It was over.

I packed up and headed back to the humble abode, stopped by the hair salon to have something done with the scattered gray, tried to forget it was my 40th birthday, and arrived home in time to get ready for the high school shin-dig. This little party began at four and ended, after the scrimmages and whatnot, at around eight o’clock.

Afterwards, my husband took us to dinner. We had a quiet meal at a local Italian restaurant where I ordered fettuccine alfredo, the same dish ordered every time we eat there. My daughter and her friend went with us, but my son was too busy. Life happens, you know.

It was another day to everyone else but to me, it was a turning point in life. I crossed over the threshold into the true age of maturity. The age that defines many women and yet no one seemed to notice. The day was precisely as expected, after all I’m a writer. I’m used to the quiet turn of accomplishments or crossing over milestones no one sees because writers exist behind the scenes. Some writers find comfort in the shadows. I'm one of them.

After dinner was behind us, I dropped off my husband at home, took the girls to run a few errands, returned home, and went to bed. It was by far the most uneventful of days, never mind unproductive, which was the only reason I was a bit ticked and no one understood why.

In today’s world, the comings and goings of holidays and birthdays, special occasions and moments to remember, my family seldom takes a moment for family time. We're too busy with other things like schedules already prepared for us by outsiders. Now, before I go on, let me explain. I’m not having a pity-party, though it may sound like it. I’m pausing to reflect and asking, ‘what could I have done differently’ that would’ve made the day memorable and I’m back at square one. The same place I revisit most when I want to accomplish something and everything moves in my way, right smack dab in the middle of my path.

I ask why. Why did I let life get in the way of what I needed to do, wanted to do and should’ve done for myself (not to mention the editor waiting on this particular manuscript)? Why didn’t I stay in my secluded mountain hideaway until everything I needed to do was finished?

For the last five years, I’ve wanted the same birthday present—alone time, out of town. This year, I almost pulled it off. I wanted to get something accomplished, something big, something to remind me of the day. The plan included finishing a manuscript and starting another one while sitting on the balcony staring at the mountains in the distance and rapid waters nearby.

While I had a birthday-interrupted and didn’t accomplish near enough, there’s a little satisfaction in what almost was. This birthday, regardless of the number of years it put behind me, could’ve been the perfect birthday. Unfortunately, life just nudged its way right on in with ballgames, obligations, and unavoidable responsibilities. However, it’s expected. It’s our life now as we know it. Next year, I hope things will be different. And there’s always next year, right?

Moms often have a tough time finding or taking their me-time. Mothers have to snatch those hours and take off with them much like bandits might do when they steal away with some cherished goods.

I used to pack up and run for Mississippi every chance I could but now, thanks to sports and busy teenagers, there’s little time for running. I miss those days, but one day, I imagine, I’ll miss ‘these’ days too.

Let me hear from you,


Karen Michelle Nutt said...

"Mothers have to snatch those hours and take off with them much like bandits might do when they steal away with some cherished goods."

This is a perfect quote. lol. I feel like a thief in the night to find a few minutes alone. I have teenagers, too and I feel my life revolves around them. I enjoy the football games and the kids excitement over what happened to them that day, but a few quiet moments are a blessed welcoming. :)

Happy Birthday--40 Hmm...I remember my 40th birthday. It seems like yesterday, but seven years have gone by. I'm closer to the big five O, now. Yikes! Time just flies, doesn't it.

Mel Teshco said...

I'm not far off the big 4-0 myself, and have to wonder where the time has gone!! As for finding time to write - with 3 daughters and three stepkids, snatching just half an hour of time to myself (usually while my littlest one has a nap) is something precious to me. Ah, the joys we find!!

Ann Cory said...

I know this is belated, but Happy Birthday woman! I'm sorry it wasn't what you'd hoped for. I remember two years in a row I was moving on my birthday. Yep - lugging boxes around and getting all gross and sweaty. Wasn't my idea of a happy anything.

I hope you get another chance for some peace and quiet! *hugs*

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