July 28th, 2004

Today is my birthday. You won’t see me talking much about my birthday in the blog, usually. I tend not to make a big deal out of aging a year. I am 35 today, and, except for the gordian knot of my confusing biological clock which is about a lot of other issues besides getting older, I’m happy to be in my thirties. I feel, mostly, like I’m just now hitting my stride, like all the stupid things I had to worry about when I was younger are thankfully a lot less important to me now. I just don’t have a lot of time or patience for being anxious about getting old. I’m perfectly happy to be old, quite frankly. Maybe I was always old, and just needing to get to where I could act old without arousing the suspicions of my peers.

I like presents; my co-worker (known colloquially as britchik) brought me a bright green bag full of goodies, so that was nice. I can expect a couple of books from my husband, too. I got a nice email from my brother and my
mom made sure I got something. I’ll have lunch with another co-worker. Won’t be much of anything overall, but it’ll be more than nothing. My daughter asked me if I was getting cake, and I said that I didn’t think so, but that it was possible. She was primarily interested in whether I’d
be sharing cake with her, actually. My co-worker asked me what my daughter got for me, and when I replied “Nothing.” seemed appalled. I guess if I was savvy I’d have pimped my wishlist and announced my upcoming birthday and yadda yadda, but oh well, there you go. I’m just not savvy. In fact, I
have a (not small) number of friends who every year act startled and say something like,”Oh, it’s your birthday? I always forget your birthday.” That’s me, forgettable birthday girl. It’s alright, really, and I’m not so into stuff or myself that I want a really big
celebration of any type, but it’s come to my attention that my birthdays appear to be consistently very understated affairs. Sophia’s just recently become cognizant of birthdays and what they mean, so we’ve been doing a lot
of talking about them lately. Birthdays are totally different for kids than for adults. They’re a real significant milestone for children.

The thing is, it’s not just my birthday today. It’s also one month since Simone died. I don’t know if I ever had miserable birthdays as a child. I doubt it, but it’s possible I cried myself to sleep for lack of a pony at six years of age. So I can’t promise that I never had a
birthday in which I wept this much since I suppose I may have had a worse one at some point which I’ve since forgotten about. Still, this one pretty much sucks and it’s not because I’m getting old and it’s not because no
one bought me presents or called me or did much of anything special for me (though that doesn’t help). It might have been weird if people did go out of their way for me today, so I guess it’s just as well no one really noticed me. I’m definitely not up to interactions with acquaintances or
small talk today, so I guess a party would have been a stupid idea. I’m not sure what I might have wanted that would have made me feel happy and celebratory. Perhaps there is nothing that would have worked today. I
think one month anniversary of dead child trumps birthday. In some ways I feel like I’m still standing, blinking back tears in the unforgiving sun, just outside the hospital where she’d died and thinking that I have to go home now and move on and build a life without her, but I don’t want to. No one really cares that I have another year to count my own, not even me. I’d give them all up for her, if I could.

And you see? I didn’t mean for this to be so negative or so completely pathetic. I wanted to be upbeat. Growing old is good! My (remaining) child is fascinated by birthdays! I’m happy today because… and I just don’t have the strength for it. I can’t believe how difficult this sometimes is. I don’t even want to post this, because it’s such a pointless downer. Still, honesty, right?

I’m one year older and I miss you, Simone. I didn’t want you to go.

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