Earlier this month, I clicked off another number on my odometer. This is the lovely cake my husband made for me, with local wheat flour, eggs and cream even!
I always used to have this terrible habit at birthday time of evaluating my life's work up to that point and dwelling on all of the things I wanted to have accomplished by now. It's a lousy ruler, and one I would always fall short of.
Funny thing. I became a parent. And all of that went away. My life is focused on living today and the future ahead for my child. The things I thought were important, well, they just aren't so much. Even birthdays, my own, anyway.
We didn't have candles, but if I had made birthday wishes, here is what I would have wished for.
- World Peace. Why not? If it works for every beauty pageant contestant, I can use it too. And mean it. Really.
- Sanity. My own and everyone else’s. The world is getting a bit too crazy, and it’s time for some common sense to return.
- Laughter. Supplied in abundance by my child, this wish keeps me sane despite the need for wishes 1 and 2.
- Wisdom. As a collective whole, we seem to have not learned key lessons from as recent as forty years back. Remember civil rights, ending pointless war, environmental awareness, making the president accountable to our nation’s laws? Here we are back in 101 class again. I hope we pass this time. I hope I have learned from my own past mistakes, too.
- Safety. Of course I want my child, all of our children, to grow up safe, well and happy. Would that we could just grant this one wish and all of us parents sigh in relief together.
- Family. My own has had so many issues, losses, breaches, no wonder that the Italian grandmother in my soul wants a big, happy family at my dinner table. Even if you are not related to me. I joke with my husband that if we win the lottery, I am having another child, adopting a few more and getting a dog or two. He can live next door. He thinks I am kidding.
- Value. As I roll into early mid-life (or late childhood depending on my moment), it’s more important than ever to me to have some meaning to my existence, some lasting good beyond my self. And I don't want any name plaque or anything for it.
- Health. For my child, my family, my friends, for us all. Globally.
- Gratitude. One gift in my life is the deep satisfaction I feel from knowing what’s worth having — and what’s not. And fully appreciating all that I have.
- Awareness. This one is a mixed blessing. Some things I don’t want to know, but if I am going to be a part of this life, I have to know reality in order to act responsibly.
- Faith. It’s hard to get, hard to keep, and too easy to lose. Sometimes, it’s all I have. I can always use more of it.
- Love. For my child, my spouse, family, friends. Love of those I have not even met.
It’s Friday. I’m not risking a “13.” Some of these wishes, I am lucky enough to have (and want to keep), some are probably always going to be wishes. And, just to cover my material wants, my spouse did get me a cool steel mesh glove. Nothing says "Honey, I want you to keep the rest of your fingers" like steel mesh. I am so ready to take on the mandoline again!
So, tell me, what are your birthday wishes?