Monday, August 16, 2010


It is 9:32. I am 38. For the next few hours, I will be 38, and then, never again. Today is my birthday. I spent the weekend at my Aunts funeral. There was a slide show streaming on a computer at the funeral parlor. Moments from my Aunts life. Black and white images from her childhood. Pictures from her teen years, and going to the prom, complete with a tiara on her head, I might add. There were pictures of her and my Uncle Gene. Snapshots of family trips, and holiday dinners. A photo of her opening up a box, and removing a velour sweater. A vacation to a faraway tropical place, complete with fancy drinks, with umbrellas in them. Her daughter's wedding. Lovely smiling faces of her with her granddaughters, whom she loved so much. A picture of her kissing her husband. And one of them locked in an embrace.
There was one photo that struck me. It was black and white. She was seated on a couch. Her hair was carefully styled into a flip. She had ner newborn son, seated in a baby chair next to her. She was looking away, her face pointed away from her baby, almost with a hint of worry on it. She looked young, and beautiful, and fragile. Not the posed, smiling, "Look at my new baby" photo we have all posed for. There was a hint of stress in her face, which really resonated with me. She looked real.
Life seems to stretch out before you, with no end in sight, when you are 18, and 25. When you have a baby, it seemed to me that it was like a new beginning for my life as well. A fresh start. My life ceased, and my baby's began. When I say that, I mean, the life I had known to that point was over. I now had small cubs to care for, and they have become what my life is. They now define who I am. They are me.
Sometimes, I look at the girls. They are so young, and beautiful. I was there with them from the moment their life began. I have tended to their every need. I will continue to do so, until they no longer need me, in that capacity. Sometimes, I become overwhelmed. I think about them as old ladies. I think about them dying one day. I become so sad thinking that I want to be there for them, and hold their hands, and stroke their hair, as they draw their last breath. I should be there. I am their mom. Yet, it would be unnatural for me to do this. I just hope and pray, that they will be sorrounded by a loving family. My Aunt was.
I know turning 39 is not that old, but is not like turning 21 either. The road before me is not as stretched out as it was before. Yet, when I look at the photos, and snapshots of my walk so far on this road, despite all the stress, and mess that feels so thick in the air sometimes,  that I choke on it....those photos are beautiful. Really beautiful.

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