birthdays

Another Birthday

Today is my birthday, and I am 39. I’m having complicated feelings about it, the ones many of us have once you reach a certain age and the milestone birthdays aren’t quite as fun because of what they symbolize.

It has been a weird summer, a weird year. The first few months had stress and anxiety due to my husband being out of work, a house project that (predictably) went slightly longer than expected, work anxiety of my own, school decisions for next year, and health concerns.

We hoped that once summer came, coming with the end of the school year, another successful Listen to Your Mother: Raleigh-Durham show, health concerns allayed (although not necessarily improved), three beach trips, school decision made and a major change at my own job, we could exhale and detorque.

Instead, we felt unsettled all summer. I was never able to relax completely at the beach, and the summer flew by. Work stress continued – I have relearned the painful lesson that nature abhors a vacuum when it comes to drama. And worst of all, we had to put another cat to sleep, leaving us with an “only cat.” I feel down and blue and like I’m just failing at so many things.

We also learned that the upcoming season of Listen to Your Mother will be the final one, at least under its current branding and organization.

Those sound like major first-world problems, and I feel like I’m whining. I don’t know why this year felt the way it did. We’ve had other years that were truly terrible. There’s just something about this year that has felt and feels off.

But it is my birthday, and that’s a good thing. I have people who love me and a job that while frustrating and drama-filled more often than I would like, is interesting and stimulating.  Daniel has adjusted well to his new school.

And Fall is coming. Pumpkins and changing leaves and holidays. The heat will break eventually, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll find a little energy and enthusiasm.

Happy 39th birthday, KeAnne.

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What’s So Amazing About Really Deep Thoughts?

I can’t seem to write lately. I couldn’t put something together for National Infertility Awareness Week. I wanted to write something for PAIL’s most recent theme because believe me, I have lots of things to say, but I worked on a post for days and was never able to make it coherent.  I have several half-started posts in draft status. I guess this is what writer’s block looks like?

Maybe it’s that I am incapable of deep thought right now.  My brain seems flighty and moody right now. I have two new books in my iBooks and an honest-to-god tangible book that I checked out from the library on my nightstand, and I can’t bring myself to start them. Instead I waste time on Buzzfeed or Twitter.

I don’t think I’m the only one in my household suffering from Flighty Brain Syndrome. Jimmy and I have given up our weekly declarations that we WILL start Game of Thrones finally. We settle for repeats of space shows (there’s some weird shit in the universe) or even an episode of Starkey’s Monarchy (we’re on Henry II and Beckett). Or an episode of Coupling when we’re particularly brain dead (three words: “Lesbian Spank Inferno.” That episode is gold).

Maybe my brain has been trained to cool off this time of year thanks to 17 years of school on a traditional calendar. Muscle memory and all that.

Today starts Daniel’s last week as a 3-year-old. One week from today he’ll be 4. Mind. Blown (apparently that isn’t difficult right now).  We’re having his first kiddie party next weekend, and I’m thinking about garbage truck cakes and herding sugar-fueled preschoolers.

And we’re going to the beach for a week at the end of June. I think all 3 of us are counting down the days.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe my brain is on vacation already.

 

 

 

Three

Dear Daniel,

Birthday boy, bright-eyed and eager

I had hoped to post this on Saturday, your actual birthday.  However, your sweet voice trilled happily over the monitor before 6 AM and when your eager feet hit the floor, I don’t think they stopped moving all weekend.  As a result, that meant that mommy and daddy’s feet didn’t stop moving either.  There was no time for mommy to slip away to her laptop or even to form a coherent thought.

You turned three years old at 6:48 AM on Saturday.  Three!  You are very much all little boy now, and my chubby-cheeked baby has stretched into a 39-inch tall string bean who looks much older.  Daddy and I were reminiscing over the last year, and I’m sorry to say that it was a stressful one for our little family.  Each day was carried out under an omni-present cloud of anxiety and worry about Mum’s health and that made its way down to you as we had IMPORTANT discussions in hushed voices and upended routines.

And I cannot forget the stress caused by our foray into preschool, how miserable you were and how I doubted my intuition and scrutinized your every gesture, conversation or interaction like you were a science experiment that needed to be fixed.  And finally, the biggest change of all in May: going to daycare every day instead of your grandmother’s.

Must.Have.Coffee

I’m so sorry for how rough and confusing the year was.  We tried our hardest to shield you from the craziness going on and let you continue to be the happy, cheerful little boy you are.  I’m amazed at how much you have changed.  A year ago you weren’t speaking much, but now you are a chatterbox.  It was in the fall that I realized you had memorized the books we read each night and could recite them on your own.

You also started telling jokes – quite clever ones actually!  Daddy and I still giggle about how you called Lucy’s tail her “tender.” You’ve started to sing the songs you know, and you have an excellent voice!   You’ve handled the daycare transition well – much better than I thought you would – and you are talking about your classmates at home; it makes us smile to think that they are telling their parents about you.

You stopped that heart-stopping running off the minute I turned away when we were outside and now display a love of nature that I hope we can nurture and help last.  You see beauty where others see weeds, and I’m reconciled to the fact that any flowers we plant may be there only for you to admire and pick.  Our porch and driveway are littered with your floral offerings.  Your artistic ability astounds me: your coloring has progressed from scribbles to trees, grass, rainbows and suns that look remarkably like what you say they are.

It’s a rocket, perverts!

Unfortunately you had a few other milestones that were unpleasant, yet unforgettable.  I’ll never forget the night you coughed at your easel and out came a tell-tale bark: croup!  But croup was nothing compared to your cutting open your chin and needing stitches.  The nice doctor who fixed your chin helpfully told us that those stitches were unlikely to be your last after he observed you in the waiting room.

Sweet Pea, you are so loving.  You give the best hugs, and it is precious how you pat our backs when you give us hugs as if to say, “There, there.  It’s ok, Mommy.” You have a huge heart, and I love that you comfort crying classmates or become upset when you think others are upset or sad.  You are always on the go, racing to get a different stuffed animal from your room, bringing an armful of trains into the kitchen or building long trains on your train table, but I am very impressed with how long you can concentrate on an activity you enjoy.

I hope 3 will be a great year for you.  We’re going to the beach soon, and I’m looking for a soccer team for you since you are enviably coordinated.  I can’t wait to see how you continue to develop and grow.

Happy Birthday!

Saucy boy enjoying his cake