Happy Birthday Darling Boy

This post is a month late, the Boy’s birthday is February 19th. I’m a terrible blogger / mother, but so far as I can ignore this blog for extended periods of time, I still can’t let a birthday go by unnoticed, the yearly letter unwritten, because my children are probably going to be the only two people in the world really interested in what I have to say, I’m mostly doing this for them and for myself so there are moments in time that can’t be ignored for this whole blog endeavor to make any kind of sense.

Anyway… here goes:

Happy Birthday Darling Boy, you are six years old. Six years old is so, so big! When I held you in my arms as a newborn I couldn’t even begin to fathom six years of being your mother. You are so grown up, that at times I hardly recognize you, you are so big and tall that I often wonder how on earth you managed to fit into my belly. You start elementary school this year and it feels like which school to send you is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. You are starting to want to be independent, you want to ride your bike around the block alone, and you want me to leave you at home when I go pick up your sister from her friend’s house, literally a 3 minute walk away. I constantly struggle with letting you spread your wings and my obsessive fear of some terrible tragedy befalling you, of the shady, lurking predator, of the car coming too fast, of the silly yet serious accident. How do I protect you while allowing you to learn independence from me? This is the modern mother’s biggest conundrum!

You are learning to write words, and one of your favorite pastimes is just copying words from whatever text you find, a while back you came to me, all proud of yourself, waving a piece of paper where you had copied all the words on the vacuum cleaner, of all things. You love watching leapfrog videos on words and letters and reading. My goal this year before you start school is to start teaching you to read in English. I wish I remembered how I learned to read in English, because it’s completely different from Italian, and I think it’s better for you to learn English first. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to do it, but I try my best!

You can now have a full conversation with me in English, which makes me so happy! You’re still shy around others, but it helps that many of your friends speak English to their parents too, so it’s not quite so weird.

You started playing soccer this year, you love it, it’s one of the few things you never ever complain about, especially since we bought you your first pair of indoor/synthetic grass cleats. You are so precise with all the footwork, you work really hard at it, and you run up and down the field like a maniac when you play a game. You’re still a little unsure about taking the ball and running with it, but you’ll get there!

We just finished the skiing season, as usual the first five weeks you’re super excited and can’t wait to get your skis on, and then the last few weeks it’s a battle of the wills to get you out of the house! But you’re a natural. This year, first lesson of the season, you put your skis on and you took of for the ski lift like a pro, on your own, no questions asked. You did not get your skiing abilities from me!

You are still the whiny willy of the family, when you’re tired or something makes you mad or upsets you, hoo boy! Let’s just say I sit back and let you rant, there have been times when you have gotten on a roll that you’ve ranted even half an hour none stop, pacing up and down the house, waving your arms, occasionally wailing and crying but mostly complaining about how unfair life is, how terrible being you is, and how horrid your parents and/or sister are. Let’s just say you have a flair for the dramatic. Thankfully these performances only happen every couple of months, and mostly you are a pretty easygoing guy. I guess you just occasionally need a good vent, and who can blame you.

You are still an awesome big brother, though you are starting to complain more when your sister gets on your nerves. I’m pretty sure things will be better once you’re in elementary school and not interacting so much on a daily basis. When she’s not around though you walk aimlessly around the house, bored out of your mind, cause you miss her.

I wish you would ask for cuddles more often, I try not to smother you, but sometimes you just look like you need them. I love that you always draw me with freakishly long arms, and when someone asks you to explain, you always answer that it’s because I give big hugs.

You are my favorite guy, you amaze me every day, you bring a smile to my face, a spring to my step, you make my heart sing, I love you miles and miles,

Mama

A little optimism this way comes…

There seems to be a lot going on extended family wise lately.  Birthdays, pregnancies, drama… All families have drama, I know, but my tolerance for it is getting shorter and shorter as the years go by. I’ve probably simply just had my fill of it, between the Girl’s birth, the Husband’s illness, the in-laws’ health and financial insanity, the nanny leaving us, we’ve had drama up the wazoo. And now, well, now, I just try to live my life as drama free as possible, if only other people’s drama would quit encroaching on my oasis of level-headed beatitude (or so I wish it were).

My Grandma turned one hundred and four years old yesterday. 104. Every birthday that goes by is more amazing than the last. Obviously, we went down to Sao Paulo (Brazil) for the celebration.

For the first time ever the Husband managed to join us. We were supposed to be there two weeks, one of which would have been at the beach but of course the Husband’s entirely too short umbilical cord with the office started tugging at him and we had to change our plans and only stay one week (office drama). It was fantastic, though, to spend a week in the sweltering heat of the Brazilian summer coming from the dead of the most annoying winter we’ve had here. We haven’t had much snow (other than, typically, on the day before we left for and the day we returned from Brazil) but everyone’s been crazy sick, for months, just one thing after the other. I was sick literally from January 1st until halfway through the trip, so a little over a month, with everything under the sun, from laryngitis to bronchitis to sinusitis with and without the sniffles, fever, etc,etc, and the kids right along with me. The only healthy member of the family, shockingly and happily, was the husband. God only knows how that happened.

Suffice it to say, I was thoroughly enjoying being healthy and in flip-flops, I had absolutely no desire to come back to the crappy weather we’ve been having in Italy, I even briefly considered mutinously (and passive-aggressively) “losing” our passports.

So back to my Grandma or Vovo as we call her in Portuguese, her birthday went by without a hitch, she had a great week, she was very lucid and communicative. We don’t really understand her much when she speaks, which is tied to her age, but she’s perfectly capable of making herself understood. She spent a fair amount of time sitting in the living room watching the kids playing and going through the picture albums I take her every year, she had fun at her party and had her fill of champagne. What more can we ask for?

And now we’re back, hoping that “The Money Pit”, i.e. the stupid stable we’re still renovating, will soon be finished (and by soon I mean before retirement), settling back into our routine of school, skiing, and surviving the winter blues. The days are finally getting longer, if not warmer, there’s still some sunlight when we leave the house at 5.30 for soccer, which makes a gigantic difference, as you really feel like you’re finally on the better side of winter (the one closest to the end).

I have a weird excitement this year of good things to come, I can almost smell spring, I can almost see the end of the money pit sucking away at all our money, I can see better health, better weather, better moods just beyond my fingertips, but so close, so close, I just need to stretch a little bit more.

I guess that’s the best part of our trip to Brazil, all it takes is a few days with family, with nice weather, with good food, with love and just like that a little optimism this way comes…

 

Happy Birthday Darling Girl

I should have posted this on November 23, The Girl’s birthday, but lately everything gets in the way of this blog. I didn’t want to skip a year though so, better late than never, right?

You turned four, but all day I kept telling people you were five. I even forgot to change the number on the Happy Birthday garland in the living room, the same one I’ve been using for years, that still read 5 from your brother’s birthday earlier this year. I’ve always had a hard time really understanding how little you are compared to him, in fact, most times I act like the two of you are twins, even though you’re not, you’re almost two years younger. I expect so much from you… But you’re so grown up, so independent, how could I not? You act older and I forget… even when you melt down every once in a while because sometimes you get overwhelmed or tired or you just plain want cuddles, I forget and I scold, and then I realize my mistake, and I hug and cuddle you. It must get confusing… and I’m trying to do better, to be better at remembering that you’re still the baby of the family.

You’re still as headstrong as ever, you want to wear what you want to wear, you want to do things the way you want to do them, when you want to do them and beware anyone who gets in your way. You still have epic meltdowns, dropping to the floor with flailing arms, but they seem to be getting shorter, like you suddenly get bored with them, and for this I’m thankful.

And you’re still the most affectionate person in the family. The minute daddy walks in the door, you’re the first to drop whatever you’re doing and run to him, literally running with open arms, for a hug, what better greeting could there possibly be in the whole world? You give us lots of kisses, lots of loud, smacking, wonderful kisses that make all of our adult boo-boos go away. You insist on doing our nightly bad dream banishing ritual right back at me, because you don’t want me to have bad dreams either. You love your brother so much, he sometimes gets annoyed at all your displays of affection… but when you aren’t around he walks around aimlessly waiting for you to come back cause he misses you and is out of sorts without you.

You are the family socialite, you love to go out, out for a walk, out window shopping, out for dinner, out of town… you want to see the world near and far. You love hotels, you love sleeping in a big bed with your brother or with me, you love hotel breakfasts, you just generally love new experiences and spending all day, all night with us doing new things.

You are light, you are joy, you are boundless, uncontainable energy, you complete our family.

Happy Birthday Darling Girl, I love you miles and miles, your smile lights up my life, you make my heart sing.

Tick Tock says the Clock, Thirty-eight says the Date.

Tomorrow’s my birthday. Every year the approach to my birthday is a little bit different. Last year I was down in the dumps, this year, I’m neither here nor there, I’m pretty even keeled. It feels almost like it’s too early for it to be my birthday already, I haven’t wrapped my head around the fact that summer’s over, much less that I’m a year older tomorrow.

Looking back on the year that’s been, not an awful lot has changed yet I feel like I’ve changed a great deal. Physically, I’m stronger than I was, exercise has become a part of my life again, yet I haven’t lost any weight, which was an obsession last year, and more of just passing note this year. I thought I’d be in the new house by now, I’m not, yet I care much less than I probably should. I’m healthier, yet I’m also much more forgiving when I find myself hand wrapped round the chocolate bar right before bedtime. I’m more patient with the kids, yet, bizarrely, I’m stricter with them. I’m busier yet more organized. It’s all really quite surprising. And the guilt, well it’s not gone completely because that would, of course, be unrealistic, but it rears it’s ugly head less regularly.

My mom was supposed to be coming in this week, she didn’t because she was having some health issues so she had to postpone her trip by a few days. A lot of my ambivalence towards her seems to be gone, or dormant at least. I’m trying not to worry about what she thinks, how she’s going to behave, how she’ll react, how or if she’ll judge me, I’ve realized I have no control over these things anyway. I decided to give myself a break and hire some extra help while she’s here, and I’m thankful that I can do that.  It’s not going to be the perfect visit, I’m just going to try and not let the disagreements and the disappointments get to me. She is who she is, and I am who I am, so I’m just going to try and enjoy her visit and leave all the baggage at the door.

The Husband, he got me the most awesomest present in the world. (Hyperbole). I already know what it is, because I’ve been talking about it for weeks hoping he’d get the hint. And he did. It arrived the other day and as soon as it’s set up I’ll photograph it and share. Tomorrow evening we’re going to go out to dinner with the kids, to a mid-level fancy-ish restaurant that I love and where they’ll behave (with they’re ipods), I didn’t feel like organizing anything too complicated, involving babysitters and whatnot, and I wanted the whole family together (and I don’t feel like cooking). On Friday I’m going to a Spa with The Girls in the morning and lunch, I’ve got a great group of friends and I’m so happy to be spending time with them. It all feels very simple, I’m not stressing over anything, I’m not organizing anything complicated and I have no expectations that someone else will. And it feels good. So, tomorrow’s my birthday, and I’m surprisingly relaxed, a little older, and hopefully just a smidge wiser, can’t really ask for more than that now, can I?

Happy Birthday my sweet Boy

You are five today. Five is pretty big.

You lost your first tooth on Sunday, and you finally, finally, managed to say goodbye to your nighttime binky. I know how hard it was, you cried a little and you kept kissing it goodbye, parting is always difficult, but it’s part of growing up. You were really worried that you would have to give up your luvvie Leo too, but no one is ever going to take that away from you. Hey, I still have my rabbit from when I was little, and I’m old! You were very impressed that the Tooth Fairy wrote you a letter, when she decided to take away your binkies with your tooth, to the binky mountain up in heaven (I’m not sure where this story comes from, maybe your Nonna).

After our last trip to Houston you’ve finally really started speaking to me in English, though your vocabulary is still somewhat limited, but your sentences have really come together and you’re starting to sound like a little Texan (with a hint of an Italian accent)!

In the last year, you’ve also gotten a bit rowdier, a bit less compliant, a little more headstrong, and though I’ll never admit it to you, this makes me if not happier at least a bit more relaxed. A little rebellion is ok, I want you to develop your own personality, just stop whacking your sister and you’ll spend much less time in time out!

You’re a perfectionist, which is both good and bad. It means you try really hard to do things right, but it also means that you get frustrated when the result isn’t perfect. You’ve been learning to write your letters (this was your decision, by the way, I was waiting for you to start doing it in school next year), so I write things down for you at the top of the page, whatever you want me to, and you copy it over and over underneath, but if a letter doesn’t come out exactly the way it’s supposed to, you get so mad! And then you stop, in frustration, because you “can’t do it”. But you can, you will, it takes a little time, a little patience, and a little practice. We’re working on it, though, because learning things should be more fun and less stressful for you.

You tied your shoelaces today, in a double knot, not a bow, but I was amazed because I only showed you once, a few days ago. How did you remember? You certainly didn’t get your memory from me! You got this from your Dad, he sees something once and can recreate it later, from memory, somehow.

You’re such a sweet boy. For your birthday you asked to be allowed to sleep with me, in the big bed. You’ve actually been asking for months, but we decided it can be a special occasion treat, since Daddy hardly ever travels. So Daddy will sleep in your room with your sister, and you get to sleep in the big bed, maybe we’ll even watch a movie… just don’t tell anyone!

So Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet, Boy, I love you miles and miles, your smile lights up my life, you make my heart sing. Mama

Weekly recap

Tuesday was my grandmother’s one hundred and third birthday. 103. Amazing.

My grandmother was kind of a hardass, and not always in a good way. My mom gets mad at me cause I tell her she needs to be softer, more loving with my kids than her mother was with us, because when I was a kid my grandma was kind of a bitch. Disrespectful? Certainly. But true nonetheless. Despite all that I have some wonderful memories with my grandmother and I’m sad I didn’t make it to Brazil this year for her birthday.

On Tuesday I also went skiing for the first time ever. Practically. Well, we lived in Canada for a year, and that year I took some skiing lessons, but I was thirteen, it’s been, like, 24 years, so basically first time skiing ever. I went with my bestest, favorite girlfriends and while they skied at quasi professional level (most of them) I took a lesson with what I thought was supposed to be an average looking, middle-aged, ski instructor but was actually a young, very hot, ski instructor, who kept telling me not to look at my feet, to look at him, and I was like, well, do you want me to fall on my ass? Anyway, very distracting.  I’ll be seeing him again next week, I figure that if I can learn to ski with him around I will then be able to ski under any and all circumstances.

Wednesday I wanted to kill myself.

That’s how badly my legs hurt. Despite that, and against my better judgement, I went to the gym. My very hot, tan, blonde, blue-eyed, trainer (pattern, anyone?), who sent me to the very hot, tan, dark haired, brown-eyed, ski instructor, decided that since my legs were in crippling pain my upper body needed to be in crippling pain as well. So…

Thursday I had a three hour long coffee with the girls.

I literally could not get up from the chair, in fact, I could barely lift my coffee cup.

Oh, but wait, back to Wednesday, three separate but related facts. On Wednesday the kids have baby basketball in the afternoon. It’s Carnival time, Carnival is a big kid holiday here, they dress up, they have parties at school, they get sweets, and usually on the Sunday before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday, last day of Carnival before Lent starts – condensed mini lesson on Catholicism, you’re welcome) there’s a parade, with floats and costumes. I have the worst memory of any mother anywhere, ever.

They were supposed to go to basketball in their costumes, for once in my life I got them to their lesson early, we ran into one of their friends, I realized they were supposed to be wearing costumes and clearly weren’t. I had a mini panic attack induced by extreme feelings of guilt and the memory of all the times I was the only kid not in costume cause my mom forgot. I left them with their friend’s dad, raced home, got two Spiderman costumes (cause the girl made it very clear that she was not playing basketball in a princess costume. Did I mention she’s three? I definitely will not survive the teenage years.), and raced back.

And when I say race, I actually mean hobble.

Anyway, they had their costumes and were happy, and I felt like slightly less of a horrible mother.

On Friday, I went to see the seven seater Prius.

I have a Prius now, the old model, I love it but am ready to upgrade to something a little roomier. I’ve gotta say, I’m not thrilled. If I don’t find anything better, I’ll get that one, but it’s a little pricey, not enough bang for the buck. Although with the price of gas here it may be the smartest option out there.

We were also supposed to go down to the beach house, as the kids are on holiday until Wednesday, but we didn’t make it today… it’s like we’re constantly swimming upstream. But tomorrow we’re definitely going. Probably.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of our skiing expedition and my warmest wishes for a wonderful weekend (holy alliteration batman, look at that!):

J, Y, F

One of the girls, me, hot ski instructor.

 

girls

The Girls (two of them are holding me cause I was having balance problems due to having to look at hot ski instructor – that’s his name.)

lunch 1

A carb and sugary drinks laden, well deserved, lunch.

 

Very proud of myself (also, hot ski instructor)

Very proud of myself (also, hot ski instructor)

 

Happy Birthday Darling Girl

You turned three today, you’re such a big girl. Just this past month you went from your crib to a big girl bed, and then last week you decided you didn’t want the safety rail anymore, you dress yourself, you brush your teeth, you help wash the dishes… you’re so independent! Everything is “io faccio” or sometimes “I do it”. You get frustrated and pouty when you can’t get something done, but you keep at it until you do it. You’re so headstrong, and tenacious, which makes life exhausting for me, but will be so great for your future. You’ve finally, finally, started letting me put your hair up, though you yell at me when it pulls (every morning when I comb it) but it’s ok, because you look so cute in pigtails.

You’ve got more energy than your brother, father, and I combined, I don’t know where you get it.You ’re independent, but you’re so cuddly too. A study in contradictions, everything in excess. When I put your pjs on, you get on my lap on the glider chair and we just rock and rock quietly breathing. I try to hold on to these moments with both hands for when you’re splayed out on the floor, screaming, throwing a tantrum of epic proportions.

I love the mornings when you wake up early and come in my bed, you cuddle up against me until every nook and cranny of your little body is melded into mine and then you fall asleep. Heaven. Nights are for your brother, mornings are for you.

You’re three years old, today, I can barely believe it. I love each new step, each new conquest, I love all the things you can do, but time, it seems to be going so fast to someone like me, I almost want to keep you like this forever. I said almost. You’re so eager, eager to do things, eager to see things, and you get excited over the silliest things, and you make them seem wonderful to the rest of us. I pray you never lose your spirit, your joy, your love of life (which, I honestly believe you got from my dad, your Nonno Fabrizio).

Your emotions are so strong, when you love your brother, you love him so much, so much, when you’re angry at me, you’re so angry, so angry, when you’re having fun, you have such fun, such fun! You’re such a sweet girl, with just the right amount of sass to keep us on our toes. And the sweetest moments of my day are watching you and your brother playing together, because you play so well, I hope you never lose that, I hope you’re always friends.

You’re three years old today, it feels like a lot, but they’re not that many at all.

Happy Birthday, darling girl, I love you miles and miles, your smile lights up my life, you make my heart sing.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to

October 3rd. It’s my 37th birthday today. Normally I get very excited about my birthday, I love birthdays and celebrations in general. I’ve always believed that the older we get the more we should celebrate our birthdays because there are fewer and fewer of them ahead of us. Macabre, maybe, but true. We should take advantage of them, make them special, get excited, like when we were kids.

This year, however, I’m not feeling it. I don’t know why. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I feel like I’m going to be disappointed, in fact, I am disappointed, preemptively, which makes no sense at all. (What am I, twelve? ha, I could only wish!)

In any case, I’m done with all the mental masturbation (please forgive the vulgarity, but there’s no better word for what I’m doing right now… oh, I wonder what’s wrong with me, let me think back to my childhood and analyze every single significant moment in my life to see if there’s any connection with this current bout of mal de vivre…). No sir, I’m done.

I’m un-excited, I’m disappointed? Who gives a shit? Is what I’m telling myself this year. So I’m going to get excited about doing something nice for someone else.

I’m not sure what exactly, but I’ve got all day to figure it out. In fact, if you’ve got any suggestions I’m all ears!

(Isn’t that the most ridiculous expression ever? Who came up with that, Dumbo?)

Monday Listicles – Birthdays

Last week, in what I now consider a moment of foreshadowing, I thanked Stasha for her Listicles because she makes me post at least once a week… and last week I posted nothing else all week. So here I am again, alive and kicking and listicling. I don’t really have an excuse for ignoring my blog other than the fact that being on vacation is actually more time consuming than being at home, doing homey things. I know, poor little ole me.
Oh, I do actually have an excuse, now that I think about it, my mom and her husband are visiting! I have houseguests! Hence, I can’t blog, what with all the beach laying, cocktail sipping, restaurant eating, and varied and sundry gallivanting and cavorting. (For them, I’m still running around after the kids).
Anyway….
This week’s topic is Birthdays(!) brought to us by the lovely Robbie of Fractured Family Tales and for some reason, my mom being here is rather an inspiration to me so here goes…

Birthdays… then….

1. Strawberry Cheesecake – my mom is not what one would call a baker by any stretch of the imagination. She’s a fantastic cook, but she doesn’t eat sweets, so she doesn’t make them. I remember one of the few birthday cakes she baked for me was the year I turned 13, we were in Canada for a year and she hadn’t scouted out the bakeries yet so she made me a cake… I don’t remember what kind of cake it was, I just remember it was covered in chocolate and bizarrely decorated with kiwis, but she hadn’t accounted for the altitude change (which was mighty since we were in Calgary and she was used to cooking in Houston – practically below sea-level) and the cake didn’t rise, or something. It was inedible. But we all applauded the effort, which was truly a demonstration of motherly love. All this to say that normally, in Houston, she would buy me the most exquisite strawberry cheesecake from a bakery that has, unfortunately, since closed, but that evokes “birthday” to me like nothing ever has since. For my daughter’s second birthday I baked her a strawberry cheesecake, and if it turns out she enjoys them, I’ll bake her one every year until she begs me to stop and do something else already.

2. Anticipation or possibly trepidation – I don’t know if my parents ever forgot a birthday when we were little but for some reason my brother and I approached our birthdays with a certain degree of anxiety, feeling the need to remind our parents of the auspicious event several months ahead of time, then weekly, daily, and finally hourly as the moment drew nearer. We approached the arrival of our birthday with rather more hype than the Rapture or the frenzy preceding the New Year of 2000. It was like a humongous, cataclysmic turning of the clock. Nothing, barring possibly the birth of my two children, has ever approached the same level of unadulterated excitement rife with possibility.

3. Freedom – my parents were pretty strict, but each year that passed we “earned” a small extra privilege, a slightly later bedtime, a little extra television time, more say in what we wore, or what we ate, little things. These extra privileges that accumulated year after year though were much coveted, much anticipated, small tastes of the freedom that was to come with adulthood. Every year that passed we became more “grown up”, and somehow this building up of our desires made them much more appreciated when we got them. Adulthood, represented by the freedom to make our own choices, earned daily, yearly, in small increments is possibly sweeter than it being thrust upon us all at once, or not at all, as is often the case nowadays.

4. Special – as I said, I grew up in an adult-centered, traditional family, i.e. nobody gave a crap what the kids wanted or were feeling at any given time, the phrase “mother knows best” quite likely originated in my family. But on our birthdays, our parents really cared (or pretended to care) what we wanted. I got to choose what the family ate (unthinkable!), my brother had to be nice to me, on a couple of occasions I even got breakfast in bed! I got to be Queen for a day, every year on October 3rd, what more could a kid want.

5. Presents – we never lacked for anything, in fact our lifestyle was often the opposite of that, but my parents weren’t random buyers… they didn’t buy us crap just cause we asked for it or we could afford to. They bought us what we needed, they were generous, but presents were for special occasions and that’s it. We never really knew what we would get. We knew we would get at least one of the twenty two thousand things we had asked for during the year, and we would usually get something that was a complete surprise. Basically, opening presents was exciting.

Birthdays… now…
6. Excitement (veiled in embarrassment) – I still get excited about my birthday. But most of the time, I’m embarrassed to admit it. As adults we’re not really supposed to celebrate ourselves, but after twelve years with my husband, I’m not holding my breath for a surprise birthday party, so despite my age, I still celebrate myself. I anticipate the phone calls, texts and FB messages, I anticipate the presents, I anticipate the yummy cake I’ve baked myself.

7. Others – birthdays aren’t just all about me anymore, I get to celebrate others. I’m in charge of the Husband’s birthday, which is conveniently two months after mine, so if he gets me a crappy gift he gets a crappy birthday party and present. It’s a great motivator. I’m in charge of the kids’ birthdays, and though tiring and often frustrating, it also makes me happy because I’m creating their traditions, their happy memories and one day in the future they’ll be writing a listicle on birthdays and citing my amazing birthday cakes (or something to that effect).

8. Reflection – birthdays now aren’t quite as happy go lucky as they once were, of course. I take them as a chance to stop and think about where I am, what I’m doing, why the hell haven’t I lost that stupid baby weight for yet another year… Every year that passes I take stock of what I’ve done and what I want to do and it gives me a chance to center myself again, to start afresh, for new goals, new motivation, for patting myself on the back or encouraging myself to get on with it. I try to keep it positive, but thinking about where I’m at also gives me the chance to give myself a swift kick in the behind when I need it.

9. Aging – yes, every year that passes I age, I gain a few more wrinkles, I’m not quite as bendy, I’m a little creakier, but I’m also calmer, more aware. I’ve accomplished more, even if it’s just a little, every year I take a step forward. So aging isn’t all bad.

10. Celebrating – I’ve already said this, but birthdays need to be celebrated. Not just acknowledged, but actually celebrated, anticipated, with excitement, like when we were kids. My mother-in-law drives me insane, because she never celebrates anything (ok, that’s not the only reason she drives me insane…), she’s always in a bad mood on her birthday, she’s standoffish, she won’t acknowledge her anniversaries… she’s a curmudgeon. But honestly, every year that passes we have fewer and fewer birthdays ahead of us, fewer celebrations, and we are never getting them back. So I say, whip out the champagne, cut yourself a slice of cake and celebrate your birthday because nobody is going to be celebrating your death. (Or so one would hope.)

So remember… October 3rd! ;-)