Thursday, September 10, 2015

Birthday Blues

A birthday gift, painted my my mother sometime in the 1980's

I woke up feeling melancholy this morning. This is my first birthday since both of my parents passed away. You'd think at 52, I wouldn't feel like this orphan child lost in the woods, but it doesn't work that way.

My mother died 3 years ago this week, after a long battle with dementia. My father passed at the beginning of this summer. I miss them. Perhaps this uncomfortable emotion is more acute now that both of my children are emerging adults and out of the house. I am no longer defined by being my parents' child, nor by being my children's parent. It leaves me in a strange place of limbo.

Who are we, when we are not in relation to others? I am a wife, a friend, a neighbor, but all of those things are clarified and understood by some kind of comparison or external metric. I could say I am a physical therapist, a ceramics artist, a writer, but those are titles that describe something I do.

I am sitting quietly by the computer this morning, surrounded by the clutter of everyday life. My dogs are both curled up on their beds beside my desk. Everywhere I look, there are icons and symbols of my life: a copy of ITHAKA RISING (I was reviewing some scenes for yesterday's work on book 3), an empty coffee cup (one of my 'rejects'). Several clay creatures peek out from a set of cubbies on my desk - things my kids made as young children. A tarot card deck - research for a book. A self inking stamp that reads "WTF". A sea shell from a walk on the beach in Maine a few years ago. A crocheted 4th Doctor, complete with scarf I bought at a con.

Clutter and mild chaos

My office is the place I carved out of the rest of my home. Everything that's here is something I put here. Even the clutter of notes, mail, and bills. Which means, I suppose, that this is how I see myself. Perhaps it's not wrong to define ourselves by our choices and our actions. By what we choose to surround ourselve with. Because, strip all that away, and what makes my bundle of bones, nerves, muscles, organs, and skin any different from yours?

Or maybe it's enough just to say "I am."

Today, I am here.

I love and I am loved.

And even in my sadness, I am so very grateful for that.

With my parents, 1969


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1 comment:

  1. I hear you, Lisa. Suddenly you look up and you are at the head of the line. No more buffer of older relatives. Its a bit scary.

    And it hasnt been that long since your dad died, it takes time to get past that, get used to the world without him in it. Thats why they give us a year's grace, to grieve and to mourn in our own way.

    And that is a lovely picture of you and your parents. My damn, you were young. Which makes me feel OLD, lol