August 14, 2014

On Turning Thirty-Five



It’s 9:37am. I slept in, which is arguably the best gift I will receive today. Kari whisked the kiddos out of our bed at the headache time of 6:30am. The curtains were left shut, the fan was turned on high and the covers were pulled over my head. There is no better sleep than getting to sleep in, without consequence or guilt, after you become a parent.

Speaking of gifts, I received $30 from my parents, which feels like such a kind gesture when you’re halfway to seventy. I have been wearing socks with holes in them for a solid four months now. There are two pair in which my big toe just slides right out into the open. Another pair has the heel worn out. Some days I have opted to simply go without socks altogether, knowing the callouses that have emerged on the balls of my feet would get me by just fine. And I knew this day would come and I knew my parents would faithfully send me $30, so I waited until now and bought five pair of socks from REI. They are ready to be picked up at the store today. Shipping to my home would have blown out my budget.

Thanks to my sister, I will take Kari out for my birthday, on a proper date, which would actually win the argument for best gift. We will arrive to dinner and have two whole hours before the movie starts. We will converse and eat, at whatever pace suits us. I will dip my fries into a gourmet sauce slowly and defiantly, one at a time, and feel like everything in the world is going to be okay.

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Happy days like today have a sadness about them now. Like the happiness you’re supposed to feel actually accentuates the sadness. As good as dinner and a movie sounds, and as sweet as the drawing is that Stella will no doubt give me, the truth is, I would equally like to skip out on the rest of the day and grab the framed picture of my missing daughter and hold it close and pull the blankets back over my head and cry until it’s no longer my birthday. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited to pick up my socks. It’s just different now.

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I feel so lucky to be alive. Thirty-five years is a long, long time to escape death. If there is one gift I could give myself today, I would beg and plead with the universe that my kids and Kari and I could stay alive for a good long while. That would be really nice.

5 comments:

Melissa said...

First of all, Happy Birthday.

Yes. Yes. Yes. All happy times come with the acrid bite of wishing and grief. Of wanting to pull the blankets over your head, or close the bedroom door and sob out the pain of missing.

Remembering your second born with you.

www.gwenjackson.blogspot.com said...

Every year on August 12, Dad and I are surprised by how many years we've been married, and then our second thought is to consider the age of our first born, only son, born on August 14, and we almost always say, It's hard to believe. The cycle of life . . . for our sweet Margot, it barely lasted before it started, and we do wish she was with us to share in the Jackson cycle of life. Sometimes it's good to have the perspective of the Psalmist - For we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow - and yet, I am thankful for the privilege of living life, and thankful for your life. Happy 35th. Love you!

Tash said...

I've missed your writing so much and I relate to everything you say here, Josh. "It's just different now", yes. I don't find it "better" or easier, just different.

Happy birthday xox

Aurelia said...

The happy days tinged with sadness. I experience that, too. It comes with every holiday, birthday, family celebration without our daughter. And the desire to bargain for more time for the living, for those we love, that too. I find myself saying those same prayers in every moment of joy.

Wendi said...

Happy belated birthday, kiddo.

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