15 January 2012


Jennifer BarkoIn the memoir of my youth, this photo would be the one that I'd select for the chapter entitled, "Birthdays."

My grandmother and I share the same date of our births; it's been one of the greatest gifts I've received. My childhood birthdays were always laced with not just the anticipation of what was within the boxes wrapped for me, but with who would call who first, of what kind of dinner or cake we'd share, what photos we'd take.

I used to live a quarter of a mile from her; I'd spend my summers racing up the hill to her home at the break of dawn and lolly-gag through my days in her gardens, baking with her in the kitchen, journeying into "town" on Fridays to go grocery shopping.

There is a tie between us, a bond of sorts that I cannot put into words, an invisible ribbon wrapped around the gift of our relationship that has bound us together on a dimension that is hard to explain.

This morning when I talked to her to wish her a happy birthday, I felt overwhelmingly sad. I'm sure it was a combination of the miles between, the words unspoken, the whispers in my head wondering how many more of these days we will share; Time reminding me of its existence not just in the mirror, but also within my heart.

It's just an age, right? It's just one more day, right? It isn't a milestone of any matter, a moment that deserves commemorating, it's not something that deserves more than a moments thought. It's not a day that matters in the big picture of things. Once, it was. Once it was balloons and cake and excitement and cheeks flushed pink with the anticipation of what was to come.

Today it wasn't. Today it was heavy and hard and honestly, scary. It wasn't a day that I wanted to commit to the scrapbook of my life, a photo that I wanted to frame, a day that I wanted to celebrate. Those days, I believe, are gone.

And if I could have anything for my gift today, it would be to have just one of those back.

Comments off....really, I don't want a pity party; just a place to put these words and thoughts, and I apologize for their weight.