How to Grow old with Grace
As I’ve grown older, I have always loved birthday celebrations, especially mine. Bien vanidosa! I love all the happy birthday wishes I receive all day long, and throughout the week 🥳 and all of a sudden I don’t mind sharing my size, hijole!
Dale, dale, dale. (Hit hit hit)
No pierdas el tino, (Don’t lose your sureness)
porque si lo pierdes, pierdes el camino. (because if you lose it, you’ll lose your way)
Ya le diste una, ya le diste dos, ya le diste tres. (You’ve hit it once, you’ve hit it twice, you’ve hit it thrice)
Y tu tiempo se acabó.(Now your time is up)
A Birthday Memory
I was going on sixteen, los gringos dicen “a sweet 16 birthday”, que sweet! I was feeling anything but sweet. I was feeling like the emotional teen I was. Nothing special was gonna happen, my birthday was on a weekday, and if it wasn’t, I wasn’t going to have a big birthday party anyway. Things were terrible in every part of my life! They had not miraculously changed liked I thought they would when I entered high school and they seemed to progress to horrible! I was supposed to be pretty, instead I was getting pimples. High school was supposed to be all fun and games, it wasn’t. Volleyball season, my favorite sport, was in jeopardy. My position as ‘the’ setter was shared with a little freshman girl, she was trying to steal my starting place on the varsity team! Imaginate! How could Miss George do this to me? I was the setter, I was relieved that at least she couldn’t serve like me, that should keep me off the bench.
I was struggling in math, my geometry class was almost too much for me, it was pretty humiliating to have to constantly be asking for help in class and out. Pero, the worst of all my tribulations was that the love of my life, the most handsome boy in school, still didn’t know I existed. It didn’t help me that I was a wreck anytime he even came near me. At sixteen with all these dramatic situations I felt like my life was over?
I wasn’t gonna make a big deal of my birthday. Manana I would pretend like it was just another day and it would pass without notice. Quizas, the whole year would just pass unnoticed. y de repente! I could just be all grown up and pretty and ‘he’ would notice me then. But I couldn’t help it, I always made a big deal on my birthday, my mind always went into fantastic fantasies of a surprise party with a bang. Maybe, just maybe this time ama would surprise me? Don’t get me wrong, I definitely didn’t want another dress up birthday, my quince was way too much for me. Anyway, I went to bed pushing down that hope, after all it was just another weekday, nothing special ever happened in the middle of week.
The next morning, while I was still sleeping, ama was preparing a celebration. She had invited Sarah and Lisa, our friends from down the street. Patty and Marina were present, it was early, the day hadn’t begun and my ama had stirred them awake to celebrate.
When everyone was ready, they burst into my bedroom wishing me a happy birthday, they were singing and I was surprised. My ama had gotten up extra early or went to bed super late and in very Mexican tradition prepared Posole, a delicious red chile meat and hominy soup. however she did it, we all enjoyed a nice hot bowl of chicken posole with all the fixings for my birthday. It is a sweet sixteen birthday memory that only now I can truly appreciate. Gracias ama, there’s that wish again for sending texts to heaven. “Ama, I really did love your posole, and I didn’t notice then, how much sacrifice and love you put into serving us a hot bowl or plate of your delicious food, but I know it now. I can’t wait to thank you in person ama, I’m all grown up now.
Throughout that day, my first day of sixteen, I got lots of attention from my friends and teachers for my birthday and I reveled in it. It kind of got me addicted to wanting ‘extra doses’ of attention on my birthdays.
Here are some things I’ve appreciated throughout the years on my birthday:
-Phone calls from Marina to wish me a happy birthday, although sometimes she’s done it on Daniella’s birthday or my anniversary, es que she thinks often of me verdad?
-My brother Fernando was always very good about calling or sending a card
-Brother Ben, before he was my Benjamin, gave me a bible as my first birthday gift when we were dating. I was impressed by his spirituality.
-My Benjamin does everything he can to make it special for me, with help from the kids and my friends of course. I learned a hard lesson the year I moved my apa into our home. I was struggling with the caregiving transition and I was feeling sorry for myself. I said to him “Don’t worry about doing anything special for my birthday this year, things are kind of hard right now” Y sabes que? He believed me, he really thought I didn’t want to celebrate?! Hijole! The day of my birthday came and he wished me a happy birthday, gave me my gift and my kids did the same and it was a quiet day and I couldn’t believe it! An uneventful birthday! I was so indignant, how could Ben be so cold blooded? He had taken my words literally!? Like I said, he goes the extra mile to ensure my happy birthdays 😀 Mira nomas, maybe I haven’t grown up yet?
-On my 40th birthday, I had been mourning the “falling” of my body, so my son Jonathan figured he would cheer me up by making a cake of a woman (me) with boobs in the proper place, hijole!
-One year my kids pitched in to pay for a nice trip to visit my bestie.
-Jonathan, my first born has had a new birthday family tradition. He has enjoyed ruining the rhythm of the Happy Birthday Song, he believes off key or no key is much more fun. In the end it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo laughter before the candles get blown out.
-My church family loves me and lavishes me with beautiful happy birthday wishes and gifts and lunch dates
Pero, when I’m not celebrating the time of my birthday, I see too much gray and too much wrinkles. Luego, I feel and sometimes hear my creaky bones. Asi es, and it shouldn’t be like this. Thomas, my youngest, is the best gift receiver I’ve ever known. He is always delighted with every gift he receives and with the same token he is always excited to give the gifts he buys others on their birthday. When I really really grow up, I want to be just like Thomas, a grateful person. I do give thanks to God for my life, and for my new year, 57 is not a milestone year but it has a few new beginnings in it, y gracias a Dios for that too.