Thursday, March 22, 2012

About Birthdays

About Birthdays....

March 13 has come and gone....and I celebrated another important birthday. I feel lucky to have made it this far. After all, I have not always taken the best care of myself and have had a few medical scares and injuries. I drink Diet Coke, sometimes Pepsi, have eaten my fair share of chocolate, white bread and french fries. I have run with scissors and stayed in the sun too long, when it was fashionable to be as tanned as leather, with the tiniest of bikinis, thus exposing as much skin as you could.... I have looked directly into the sun without sunglasses, ignored sleeping and stayed up for entire nights.

However, perhaps I have been able to balance the good and the bad by having never drunk wine, champagne, beer, liquor or coffee, never smoked cigarettes, or played around with drugs.... I never skipped school, although I should have tried it, a least once, just to experience the thrill.  I hope that the good  I tried to do will earn me a few points in heaven!.

Often times I pray and ask God to hold on to what is supposed to come to me, until all my children are settled, hopefully married, with jobs to sustain them and their families. Then, God...hit me with what YOU think I deserve! And if I can live longer than that....PRAISE THE LORD, it will be a gift!

When I was little, I remember the anticipation of the birthday parties and, each year, a new dress. Mother used to make me a white cake, with delicious white frosting and fresh strawberries.....Oh tasted so good! 

Sometimes friends would come and was at one of those parties that I received the little wicker basket that started this blog (January, first posting)

Smells, colors, music can bring back memories of birthdays past, and I am transported into times of so long ago. I find the accuracy of those memories amazing! The older I get, the more accurate the memories. I marvel at the life lived by my Mother, who will turn 90 this much has she seen, how much has she experienced...the history she has lived.... the advances, trials, tribulations....the birth of her children, the wars...
Mother at age 3

Mother in February 2012

                                        And how did I go from this:

            this... in the blink of an eye!

And in that "blink" I started school...

graduated from school...

taught school...

Learned to ride a tricycle...

 ..and a bicycle...

Flew in a Catalina with Dad....

Maria and Dad at 1,500 ft....
 ...and with Mom...

And as I grew up, the celebrations changed. As I became older, Dad would usually buy me jewelery instead of dolls and toys, and Mom continued to make me that delicious white cake with fresh strawberries....

Grandma Emilia always gave me something special, like a fancy party shawl, a powder puff, a purse, an embroidered hankie or a wallet. And  as I turned 16, and entered the dating scene, Dad did not want to take any chances with me “finding someone” that he did not approve of, so the parties stopped... no boys allowed....
Maria at 16

 What happens when we are born? We change our family dynamics. We make someone a Mother, or a Father, we become daughters, sons, brothers, sisters.

Maria with Mom and Dad

 And then, there is life to be lived. Some of us are easy going...others are the source of great stress. I was the later, and made my family jump through hoops. I was a libertarian in thought, an artist at heart. And a hippie would... and I wrote prose and poetry and frequented the circles of poets that drank tea and coffee and wore beanies (drove my parents crazy!)...and we snapped our fingers instead of clapping. I won a national poetry contest in high school, where I wrote about how it would feel to be near death...and my poor Mother wanted to take me to a psychiatrist because, she thought, I was going to commit suicide. I won a second National award where I wrote about an old wall covered with moss and how much that wall had seen in its existence... that did not impress her as much! And I was a communist, a socialist a non-partisan, a Christian democrat..all in the span of a few months.

As a Mother, I have treasured little gifts that my children have made for me on my birthday. And in later years, my grandchildren have given me priceless works of art. As an older adult, the idea of not cooking or cleaning, and going out to celebrate, holds a special appeal to me! We used to receive birthday letters and Facebook instantly lets you know who is thinking about fun it is to check your page and see one greeting after another! It's the modern way to send birthday wishes!

And, oh, how we change from one day to another.... When I look into old pictures...was I ever that small?
(I still have this bear)

 Was I EVER that thin, that pretty, that young? 
With my younger sister
How fast life moves after you cross a certain threshold..I am not sure at what point I started to feel that there is less life left ahead, than the life I have left behind.... or at what point I realized that I am not as young anymore....when did all those white hairs appear? When did those wrinkles quietly settled on my face?

My neighbor often said that “Youth is wasted on the young”...and I believe that to be true. If I could just have the body of my youth and the brain with the knowledge of today.... But, it is what it is...and I am thankful for another year.

So, on this start of a new trip around the sun, I am grateful for my blessings, my family, my husband, my friends, real and virtual, my health. Husband and I took a drive to the beach on my birthday. The unexpected snow of  the previous  night still lingering on the ground, tree branches broken and a view ever so lovely... it made the town have a new look. Schools were closed, and restaurants full. We all acted surprised, as it was not supposed to be like this. Here, on the South Coast, we are used to rain and wind, lots of it. But the snow was a gift to me...AMaria-Kind-of-Day on my birthday..isn't that wonderful?

Thank you all for being in my life.


1 comment:

  1. How beautiful, Maria. I loved the pictures and your graceful, thoughtful writing.