8.3.2017

My dear Dylan,

To some extent, I don’t even know what to say. I actually have a post written for you already, but it doesn’t feel like it’s right anymore. I improvised this morning with breakfast, so I guess I’m going to improvise now, too, and see what happens. That’s all life really is, anyway, isn’t it? Merely a day to day improvisation…🤔 (Insert here a comment from you about me being philosophical and existential again…)

I’m glad that we got to have breakfast together today, and that you were able to relax a little before going to work. It is your birthday, after all, it’s your special day!

I don’t need to tell you I love you for you to know, but I will anyway. (I kind of just did.) I don’t need to tell you that I’m proud of you, because you know that, but sometimes you just need to hear it, and I know you have had a lot on your mind lately. Which is understandable…a lot has happened in the past year. Let’s look…

Definitely the biggest and most ongoing change is the one with pretty brown eyes, four legs, and a tail…and she’s…I’d like to say she’s stretched out at my feet while I’m in your chair, but the truth is she was here and now I have no idea when she snuck out or where exactly she went (though I’d put money on the backyard). Typical. I know we adopted her closer to the end of July last year than the beginning of August, but it still counts, and you and I both know that no matter what, you wouldn’t give her up for anything. Nor would she you, honestly.

After that, everything else doesn’t seem as detailed or…there doesn’t seem to be as much to it, because your (our) emotions are wrapped up in her, and I can just simply list everything else and then step away from it, more detached. (Does that make sense to you? I’m not sure if it’s one of those things that makes more sense in my head than it does out of it… I’m sorry. I’m feeling a little out of it, and I had a cup of coffee, but I don’t think it’s enough to make me feel 100% better today.) Still…

You…

  • earned and walked for your Bachelor’s degree
  • sold one car (finally)
  • bought another car that’s fully paid for
  • landed a full-time job, with benefits

…and I know that you’re still not completely where you probably need to be, definitely where you would like to be, in your life, but you have come quite a ways. And I’m just going to leave that at that—though I do hope you can stop thinking about everything else just long enough to enjoy the rest of your birthday. Even though you’re at work now, it’s still your day.

I hope I was able to make this morning special for you. I wasn’t sure about improvising, and I think you know that I probably never am. Because I always want it to be perfect for you, but maybe the perfection lives in the effort and not in the result. In the day to day effort (struggle) of everything.

Together.

❤︎ Happy birthday, honey. ❤︎

Of Mom and Me, Another Year

“A daughter is a mother’s gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. And mothers are their daughters’ role model, their biological and emotional road map, the arbiter of all their relationships.”

— Victoria Secunda

She’s noticed it, too—the older I get, the more the dynamic between us changes. The less we have to be parent and child, and the more we can be mother and daughter—friends. Except, today, I’m not the one getting older, Mom—you are.

Happy birthday, Mom.

You don’t look like you’re 48 today…and since you’re likely to comment about how you’d rather I not comment on your age this way, I’ll just slip in a subtle comment about how Dad is TWO YEARS OLDER than you and his birthday is in NOVEMBER. There, how’s that? 😉

Really, though. Every tabloid I read has quotes from multiple women who state that the older they get, the better they feel, the more confident, the more beautiful, the less they care that they’re aging, blah blah… Of course, even the more trustworthy tabloids (kind of an oxymoron, I know) are still tabloids, and those women are more often than not celebrities, and…celebrities age differently. The entire world watches, but they typically have thousands of dollars and “people for that” so it’s…different. See, we ordinary people don’t have that. You don’t have that. And frankly, I think Botox is stupid, so I’m glad you don’t have that—and, just like the makeup you complain about having to put on anytime I want to go anywhere, I don’t believe you need it. (Although if putting on makeup makes you feel more beautiful, then, fine. I get it, because I actually do feel kind of different with a French manicure and a pair of wedge heels…)

So, anyway, how do you feel today? I don’t see the point of asking whether or not you feel any older, because I still remember everybody asking me that on my birthday growing up, as is a common question for kids, and the answer was always no. No, I don’t think it’s ever your birthday that makes you feel older—it’s the day-to-day living. The wrangling of a child. The constant stream of laundry. The bills that pile up on the counter, demanding attention, as you reach for the coffeepot each morning. The airports and airplanes that accompany international travel—the exhausting, unglamorous part of travel that nobody thinks about when they think about jet-setting around the world. (No, you’re not actually “jet-setting.” But I like the term, so I’ll use it.)

You know, I think that if there’s anything in the world that makes you feel old, it’s probably…me. I turned 23 this year. I’m your only child; you’ve spent years raising me, teaching me, disciplining me, loving me, annoying me… (Remember when I finally called you annoying, and every time thereafter you would say, “Thank you! I’m annoying!” with that grin on your face like you were so proud of it…? Oy.) See, I’ve been your entire life.

I appreciate that, you know.

I appreciate even more how we’re both getting older and what that’s meant for the dynamic of our relationship. How we can spend a day in Pearland or drive to the outlet malls on a whim. Have lunch, gang up on Dad. How it becomes easier for me, the older I get and the closer we are, to talk to you about problems of all kinds, or, if I need it, to just vent. Though the older I get, too, the more often I catch myself saying something, and immediately have to follow it up with, “My god, I sound like my mother.” 😳 But I bet you get a kick out of that!

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.

P. S…

Just for good measure. 😉