in good health
a week ago i flew to the east coast and turned 35. visiting my parents. having a quiet birthday that goes unnoticed except for the cupcakes and frosting. life is bigger than birthdays these days. and that’s ok.
i’ve always wanted to be this age, it feels good to be in my skin.
i laugh at the message from a friend first thing in the morning last thursday… his voice across the miles knowing all the forgetting that is happening around me in a world of dementia deterioration. “hey, happy birthday meredith. i thought someone should say it to you today.”
while digging around for linen napkins at dinner, i find a familiar sight i hadn’t seen since NJ 1984. blue and red. balled up and forgotten under the placemats. it appeared just for me, this day of days when i went unnoticed. when no one uttered “happy birthday to you” i pulled this treasure from the drawer and held it up to see. blinking remembrance of this, somewhere from deep in my subconscious of a childhood that feels very far away from me now.
“hey mom, look!” i hold it up to her. she blinks at me. i blink at her.
“can i have this?” the question jumps out of my mouth before i can shove the greedy gimme gimme words back in my mouth. this, this thing that was once hers was meant to be mine. and we both know it.
“yes of course” she says. and suddenly i know that this will be my last birthday present from her. she gave it unknowingly on the day of my birth. and even though she never spoke the words, i know it was a gift.
this is the apron she wore in our east coast kitchen. the one embroidered with two words: Wonder Woman
i tell her how much it means to me, how he, this child right here, my son, calls me wonder woman. a thought she cannot grasp. but she smiles anyway and tells me “wear it in good health!”
and depending on my mood and the weather and the weight of loss on that particular day, i find that statement ironic.