A True Confession

Yesterday was my 63rd birthday. I usually don’t tell people how old I am because I’ve always looked ten years younger. In fact, when I went to college at 35, one of my young contemporaries called me a “well preserved old broad.” (laugh here) At the time I accepted the compliment, and now, I hope it’s still true. (you can laugh again)

I really don’t mind getting older, but I do mind the changes it brings. Instead of presents, now I get phone calls. It’s not like I need anything, but I still revel when I’m surprised. Ken used to always surprise me, but now his illness doesn’t allow him to shower me with his special thoughtful gifts. It hurts. It’s another reminder of how much MS has taken from us.

I think at this stage of the game I should stop being a child about my birthday, but somehow I can’t turn off the fact that July 31 was the one day out of the year that I was the big cheese. My mother allowed all of us to pick what kind of cake we could have and what special outing we’d like for our special day. For me, it was poppyseed cake and an afternoon swimming at Brown’s Lake. On top of that, people sang to me and I got to make a wish before I blew out the candles on the cake. Then there was always the presents people picked out just for me. What a head rush! Who wouldn’t be crazy about a day like that?

So, maybe you can see now that taking Ken to the doctor and going out for lunch isn’t quite the same thing. However, it was very special when his doc sang “Happy Birthday” to me. Wasn’t that great?

A good blogging friend once wrote a comment to one of my writings about accepting change, which I came across this morning. Here it is:

The principles of the Buddhist philosophy is that it’s our expectations that cause suffering. When we release expectation and enjoy what is, suffering ends.

Makes sense doesn’t it? So why is it so hard to do?


8 thoughts on “A True Confession

  1. Happy Birthday! Also know that sharing your struggle and the myriad ways in which you deal with it, is helping other people. You may not hear from them, but it’s true.

  2. Thank you so much, Dan. Sometimes feel terribly lonely in this quest, but sharing the trials helps me. Knowing other people are benefiting from my thoughts and experiences is a gift. Thanks.

  3. Happy (belated) Birthday Barb. Sorry it was such a down day for you. Mine have been like that for many years too.My birthday has never been a big deal to anyone but my kids. They try to make a big deal the best they can. Since I refuse stuff, (I need no more dust collectors) we are looking into other options. My son always gives me book gift certificates and my daughter takes me to lunch. Husbands and parents would forget and or ignore it. So I do something for myself each year. Last year I bought the embroidery machine I wanted. One year I took myself to Sylvia Beach Hotel for a weekend of writing. I didn’t have anyone at the time that required my presence. I understand your feelings well. The Buddhist quote is one I live by now. Yes, it’s hard and requires daily attention to let go of expectations. But the truth is that expectations always cause suffering. I’m heading to 66 next month and my daughter wants to take me somewhere. I have to make a decision. I hate traveling on holiday weekends though. Hang in there kid. The best is yet to come.

  4. Happy belated birthday. I do understand what you mean as I have been caring for a parent. It has taken awhile for me to adjust (if that is the best description of the process), but the first few years were really challenging when my birthday came around. I often turn to Pema Chodron’s writings and talks for some perspective. Thanks for sharing with us throughout the journey.

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