Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Thanks to everyone who responded to my last couple of posts about Madam’s tantrums and my difficulties with her. To answer a few of your questions: Yes, she has been evaluated on account of her speech delay, and will be again when she turns two next month. And we have been working on signing, but the only ones she is interested in remembering (and repeating) are the signs for swing, slide, library, school, and playground.

I know you are all shocked.

I have come close to losing it this week with her (another TOUGH week) and re-reading your kind advice has really helped.

So thank you!
Tomorow I will be 34. It’s strange. I never thought I would make it past 21. And I have. I guess.
In grade school and high school birthdays were very very important.

I still remember my parents waking me up every birthday morning with "Las Ma
anitas" playing on the stereo. And tottering through the school hallways, carefully balancing my two boxes of bakery cupcakes (because no way was Mami going to bake them herself, and besides the bakery ones were better). I always wore something girly and dressy on my birthday, a sharp contrast to the careless way I dressed the rest of the year. Birthdays were no time to blend in and be ordinary. On my birthday, I indulged my desire to be a STAR.

"Do you feel different?" My teachers would ask. "No," I would lie. But I did. More solemn. Heightened.

I've always loved rituals.

In high school, your friends would make a poster sized card for you and hang it by the lockers, so that all of your other friends and acquaintances and teachers could sign it as they passed by. They would buy you flowers and Mylar balloons, which you needed to negotiate through the crowded hallways until an assistant principal inevitably confiscated them until the end of the day, and then you complained even though you were secretly relieved because now you could walk to class without bashing people in the face with your balloons.

Several of the more enterprising florists near the high school took to opening at 7am to capitalize on the tradition of floral and blown up devotion.

Quickly, I learned that although I loved getting presents and flowers and cards, what I really loved about my birthday was making it a DAY—special clothes, my favorite foods, wandering around in the Village with my friends buying used books and going to a movie at the Angelika.

I usually spent the days before my birthday summing up the previous year in my journal, and creating wildly ambitious plans for the next one. No, really, one of my main goals from age 11 to about 23 was “To become enlightened.” I am not sure what happened about 23. Maybe I believed it had already happened? Or never would?

Or maybe it was just that birthdays with TEG were less about enlightenment and more about pure sensation--traveling to the beach at night with our makeshift picnics, the thick salty air pouring into the car as we talked over each other, that endless conversation between us. TEG always gave me a huge bag full of little presents that I could scatter through my days, reminding me of his love from every angle. Bead necklaces, photos of daisies and kittens, Sandman comic books, books of poetry. Again, it was about feeling cherished, about feeling surrounded by abundance. Revelling in the experiences.

Last year I was so deeply engrossed in moving to Minneapolis that my birthday passed over me like a breeze. I was too tired to gaze at my navel, for once.

Not so this year.

So, in that spirit, I want to share what I know and what I want to know:

What I know:
Having a toddler is hard work.

What I want to know:
How to keep my sense of humor (and sanity) during her travails. How to be a better, wiser mother.

What I know:
It’s difficult to write a novel if you insist on writing it from beginning to end in order.

What I want to know:
Then, how else do you do it? No, really? Help?

What I know:
Sleep is very important.

What I want to know:
How to get more of it. Without screaming that agonizes the neighbors.

What I know:

It’s unfair to expect TEG to “take care of me” and thus protect me from my own fears.

What I want to know:
How to learn to lean on myself and act despite my fears. How to stop being Cinderella.

What I know:
I didn’t really become enlightened at 24.

What I want to know:
If I did, would I feel the difference?

Tomorrow I will be 34. And the big goal for this next year? To really embrace 34, abundant, messy, grown up 34, with humor, with wisdom, and with less fear.



Blogger Ash said...

Wow - Happy Birthday to you!!!

4:34 AM, June 07, 2007  
Blogger Ally Bean said...

What I know: It's your birthday.

What I want to know: How did you celebrate it?

Happy, happy, Joy, joy.

5:02 AM, June 07, 2007  
Blogger Catherine said...

How else to write a novel: Diana Gabaldon wrote a book about her writing (and researching) process, which I enjoyed much more than her actual books. Apparently she just writes bits from anywhere, and gradually joins them together - much as you might do a jigsaw puzzle - you can see that certain pieces go together easily, so you put them together first. Checking on Amazon, I think it is the one called "Through the Stones". There are probably as many ways as there are writers.
About two year olds: they all throw tantrums. Some worse than others. I thought my eldest screamed because she couldn't communicate, so I organised speech therapy. Now she's 29, talks perfectly well, and I know that she screamed because she was anxious. She's still inclined to be anxious but she doesn't scream much :) (and she can communicate very well- actually, she could then - pointing works wonders).
Happy birthday!

6:09 AM, June 07, 2007  
Blogger Melba said...

Today is your Birthday!!!!

Happy, Happy Birthday.

I love ritual too and I remember High School birthdays.
Those were fun, but I like birthdays as a mom better...

My children love when it is my birthday. We put a candle in everything we eat and take turns making wishes.

I also always spend a bit of time alone feels cleansing to me.

My birthday is two months away; I will be I am all excited to celebrate.

Sending you and Madame love and serenity.


8:28 AM, June 07, 2007  
Blogger deirdre said...

Happy Birthday. I loved the stories of your childhood birthdays - wonderful. Go ahead, be a star tomorrow. We all need to be a princess sometimes, and what better time than your birthday. Have a wonderful day.

8:29 AM, June 07, 2007  
Blogger Amber said...

Happy Birthday, you!


4:41 PM, June 07, 2007  
Anonymous fern said...


I know this year will bring wonderful things for you and your family!!!!!!!!!!


5:31 PM, June 07, 2007  
Blogger Jessie said...


I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


6:04 PM, June 07, 2007  
Blogger Tori said...

Happy Birthday!
May 34 hold all that you wish for and work for!

6:57 PM, June 07, 2007  
Anonymous Frida said...

Happy birthday.

What I know:
That there are lots of women out there who have as many questions as I do about living this messy, abundant life with humour, courage and love

What I want to know:
How come so many of them are both younger and wiser than me?

Best wishes for the year of being 34!

1:02 PM, June 09, 2007  
Blogger kate said...

Happy Birthday! (Sorry this is so late. I was off-line last week.) I should have known you were a gemini. Of course you are a gemini. (I will be 35 on Wednesday.)

You are not Cinderella. You are fabulous.

9:36 PM, June 10, 2007  
Anonymous caro said...

I just clicked over here from Emmie's blog, and I bet you are someone I've met on Wednesday afternoons, right? Hope you don't mind I am here.

From what I know, I admire your writing and your mothering. "If I did, would I feel the difference?" gave me chills. And from what I've seen of the hardest times (damn that slide!), you seem so calm and collected, though I know it must not feel that way.

Happy belated birthday! I hope someone gave you a bunch of balloons.

10:07 AM, June 11, 2007  
Anonymous caro said...

Oops - I tried to include a link to my blog and it didn't show up:

10:09 AM, June 11, 2007  
Blogger Earnest and Game: Heather said...

Happy belated birthday, M. Let's talk soon. Sending every best wish, Heather

11:52 AM, June 11, 2007  
Blogger Yummyteece said...

I never intended to live past 25... and now 10 years later, I am not always sure it was a good idea. However, time makes soldiers of all, I guess.

Happiest Birthday to you, my dear. I for one am glad you are here, and I love to read your honest anaylis of your experiences.

By the way, I hope you don't mind, but I utilized your "navel gazing" post for my last entry.... It was so wickedly appropriate.

Sending you white light and blessings on your special day.

10:17 PM, June 14, 2007  

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