December 8

The hardest part of my birthday isn’t getting older, it’s worrying that I won’t make the most of it.

I love my birthday, and just like Christmas Day, I’m sad to see it end.

The best part is that Casey takes the day off to play with me, offering himself to whatever I conjure.

Even ice skating.
(He’d really rather not.)

Sometimes a day trip.
Often Christmas shopping.
Always an indulgent meal.
(The real reason he’s willing to do everything else.)

I remember the first birthday that I celebrated after my mother died. I turned 37 that year. I woke up and wanted to be alone. I left before the boys were up, and missed the coffee cake that the neighbors brought to share.

I was up before dawn this morning too, and apparently, I left behind some of the facial mask I had applied–a dark crusty clay–circling my right nostril–which I didn’t notice until after we went out to breakfast! (Though apparently, Casey saw it and never thought to say anything.)

Without giving it a thought, I licked my thumb and scrubbed.

And then I smiled.

My mother was the one to wipe spit across my face when I was young, particularly on special occasions.

I found it revolting.

I made sure I never did it to my kids.

“Hi Mom,” I said.

It was such a gift to sense into her touch after all these years.

Another gift of my birthday is that it almost always snows, no matter where I live, but not today, except, I hear, back at the shore where I was born.


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