Happy Non-Biological Father of Jesus Day!
I have a partially eaten Zeppole on my counter that I bought so Bella could see what they were. Because I feel it's important to know your pastry-fried-in-lard stuffed with sweetened marscapone and ricotta with chocolate chips and topped with a cherry -- jeez, wouldn't want to mix that up with your carrot sticks, am I right?
Today my grandmother moved from her rehab center (she had a stroke about three weeks ago) into her new assisted living place. I hesitate to call anything that nicely decorated and well lit and cheerful and friendly and spacious a "Nursing Home," which I kinda reserve for creepy quiet places where screams rise from the basement and the occasional bat flies by. She was pleased and quite surprised to discover her furniture in her new suite ("This is MINE! This is MY CHAIR!"), and tonight will sleep in her bed for the first time in almost a month. She is obviously a bit nervous, but I think in other areas, genuinely relieved. "No more cooking!" she said beaming, after finishing every scrap of her lunch in their restaurant-like dining area. She asked a few times what the name of the place was, and kevetched about having to use her walker again (she's been in bed or wheeled for a month now), but was in good spirits. And she remembered me.
And she remembered it was my birthday.
I'm downplaying today with a force of a thousand suns. I've forbidden any cheer or notice or celebration EXCEPT that which emanates from Bella. I may believe in being truthful with her about a lot of things, but I really do honestly think she's too young to learn that birthdays can suck. In her world, Birthdays rate right up there with Christmas if not higher because there's cake and you get to pick the food. So I grin sheepishly every time she tells someone with gusto, "TODAY IS MY MOM'S BIRTHDAY!" as if I won the lottery -- and she did this, this morning, to everyone at her school.
Holidays and anniversaries and such are just a bit sour after Maddy, but my birthday -- this birthday especially -- is different. Unlike a day that just kinda has a dull edge to it that you know you'll revisit again in 12 months time, this birthday is like slamming a door shut. I don't get this one back, it doesn't get "better." I just get farther away from a dream and person I thought I was when I started the decade. I feel like I'm losing a grip on me -- my multi-faceted identity that I've always been so proud of. If one part started failing, there was always something else. And now I feel a bit as if I'm trying to hold sand in my palms and it's just blowing away.
Niobe once posted a link to The News From Your Bed by Bishop Allen, and it's become my life's soundtrack. (In fact, the last verse starting "When your family calls you make nice to them all" is my ringtone.) And today it's bouncing off my inner walls. I'm not splitting town with the husband, leaving the kids at the 'rents for a weekend of hedonism. I'm not going to Vegas with the girls. I'm hunkering down at my counter with a piece of Ganached Guinness Goodness lovingly prepared for me by Mr. ABF and Bella (who calls it "Beer Cake"). And wishing I was somewhere, someone, somehow, else.