Melancholy Milestone Birthday – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
Exactly ten years ago today, on a Wednesday, my son graced my life with his beautiful presence! Not only did he change my life forever, he was my birthday present! He was born three hours, fifteen minutes before my own birthday. My “forever birthday gift”!
To make the story a bit more accurate, my son WAS born on Wednesday, August 6th, 2003. Today is actually MY birthday, even though it is Wednesday, August 7th, 2013. My son’s official birthday was yesterday. But because he was born on a Wednesday (I was too), and even though it is technically MY birthday, I am celebrating his special day along with my own. That has always been our “tradition.” Until this year.
For an entire decade, I have had wonderful celebrations for each of my son’s birthdays! Every year, as I planned it based on a character theme of his desire, I still felt as though I were planning a party for myself! I admit, I went all out some years. But that celebratory feeling was pumping so strongly in me, it just couldn’t be ignored. I wanted to give my own “forever birthday present,” my son, a celebration that relayed how I felt having him in my life and as my eternal gift! I never needed gifts for myself, didn’t need cards nor a cake. My son’s celebrations were also mine. I was living vicariously through his excitement and abundance of joy! In my younger, naive mind, I thought that these yearly celebrations would continue until he hit age eighteen. Something I hadn’t thought of intervened this year that made the tradition come to a halt: Sleep Away Camp.
Before choosing the camp dates, I asked my son whether he wanted to be away at sleep away camp on his birthday or not. He quickly said with delight that he did. Although I put on a big smile to match his enthusiasm, my heart sunk. It didn’t sink because there would not be a celebration to plan and participate in. My heart sunk because both my son and I would be celebrating milestone birthdays this year: He, turning double digit 10. My, turning a half century, 50. My fiftieth birthday without my “forever birthday present” by my side. I feel lonely, let down, ignored. He did not purposely make me feel those feelings, but they are there, good, bad or indifferent.
Many friends want to plan little celebrations for me. With my Lyme Disease still going at full force, I’m truly not up to being celebratory. In a way, with my son at Camp for his birthday, it takes the pressure off of having to push myself beyond my physical means to prepare a milestone birthday for him. I also made promises to my friends that if I can conquer this horrendous disease, before I turn 51, while I am still 50, I will throw my own birthday bash in celebration of two significant events a year from now. My son will probably choose to spend his birthday at camp again. But I won’t be as melancholy. Hey, I might even be able to celebrate the end of menopause, if I’m lucky! Three for three!
Alas, this year definitely will not be one to remember. I am too ill. I won’t have my son. I am not up to doing anything remotely exciting. The day will come and go just like any other day. I look forward to next year around this time. To hopefully be physically better. To possibly be rid of “the curse” of womanhood (for me, at least). And celebrate while still at age 50! Three very exciting things to look forward to! My birthday wish for this year is for all three wishes for next year to come true! Wish me luck!