Wednesday, December 28, 2005

janie's birthday

my mom was born today.

she'd be 61. she was 30-years old when she delivered me, and i will be 31 in january. (her third child. i am sooo far behind. i just gave away a cat - too much responsibility.) it always made it easy to figure out her age - "just add 30." determining dad's age was always little more difficult for me - 32 years older. could involve carrying over a one, and everyone knows how frustrating double-digit addition can be for a first grader. in some ways, these little calculations would become fitting analogies for the dynamics of our relationships:

mom and me = easy
dad and me = ehhhhh...a little more complicated

i don't normally get nostalgic and weepy on The Big Days - the day she died, November 19 - and her birthday - December 28. they usually just pass right on by. i usually don't even notice until the next day:

oh goodness, yesterday was Mom's birthday. i guess i should have done something to mark it.

this year seems to be a little different. i feel the need to recognize it. bend the corner of the page. highlight this excerpt. maybe i'm getting more sentimental as i get older. i am getting closer in age and mentality to the woman she was and further from the girl i was. i am shocked to find myself having moved from a Ms. magazine-reading college girl who's terrified of slipping into a trapped life that's exactly like hers - wife, mother and homemaker - to being a Martha Stewart-reading woman who's terrified that she will slip into a life that's absolutely nothing like hers - wife, mother and homemaker. surely there is some sort of delicate balance. (can't just be a coincidence that Ms. and Martha Stewart are the same initials!) i just haven't figured out how the hell to make that even out just yet.

so today, for the first time since her death 18 years ago (holy shit - that long? and why do i find myself tearing up when i write that?), i find myself marking it albeit accidentally by doing very Janie-like things:

i started the day by doing a load of laundry. i will listen to Mozart's violin concertos. i will go to the bank. i will go to the post office to mail belated Christmas presents. i'll look in the mirror and bemoan the landscape of my belly. i will write thank you notes. i will heat up leftovers for dinner, and i will fall asleep before finishing the first chapter.

not so different after all, i guess.


and then just when you think you're alone, your brother goes and sends you a picture like this. he put yellow roses on her grave this morning - her favorite. thanks, L.

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