I hope that, on my birthday, my mother is proud. Not in some flashing-photos-of-the-grand-kids way but deeply satisfied with her contributions. In defiance of all of the norms that insist I hold myself in, keep it to myself, feel shame and hate my soft bits, I crow.
I have been a little full of myself – always. I can admit it. I stood on the desk to be heard above the ruckus and to read my words…in first grade. Remember that, Mom? You were the substitute and had to send a note home for yourself to sign. The fire was always there. I have tried to temper it, to change, to stamp it out. But, here, on number FORTY-TWO, I say, “Fuck That!” I am so damn proud of this life of mine.
I am proud that, despite the lurking shadows, the devastating losses of all that I ever imagined I could want, I have come out. I have dusted off, paid tribute to the gifts of those dark places, and I rise.
I chose well, in the end. Top-Of-The-Tree well. A husband who recognizes my light and magically manages the vents and bellows to keep the fire fed and blazing. Keeps me from burning out.
Oh, and my love! Deep, guarding, space-holding, fiercer than a Lego samurai, big love. The big sister kind. The mother bear kind. The fuck-with-my-friends-and-I-will-salt-your-skinned-flesh kind. It’s stuff of the myths, this.
My loves, I will sit with you while you take your last breaths and I will tell your children who you really were, your strengths, how you threw your first punch for me. How you raged against the Ravaging to stay with them. That you lost but not for lack of trying.
I will blaze for you and for those who have moved on and I will love every moment.