Anniversary grief. That was the feeling that I couldn't find a name for in my last post. I grew up with an extended family of alcoholics. My birthday is on New Years Eve, a time of year that is often marked by excess drinking, sad Holiday memories, and reflective New Years Resolutions. There was so much inner chaos going within the family that there was little mental space for my caretakers to devote to scheduling a child's birthday party.
I've spent a lot of years feeling neglected and overlooked as a child on my birthday. As an young adult, I've coped with this "anniversary grief" by making elaborate traveling plans on my birthday. I've celebrated my birthday by taking New Years Eve trips to Ireland, South Africa, London and Paris. After I got married, I cut the travel budget to clothe young babies. Then I moved onto making elaborate birthday party plans with friends and family within my own house.
This year 40 caught me poor and naked. I didn't have energy in December. I didn't money or time. I worried that on this anniversary of my birth, my feelings of grief would pull me under.
Instead, my birthday was the best ever! I had a birthday that was calm and peaceful and happy. I cried a little, but it didn't ruin my day. I had a great one hour prayer session with God. I read a great non-fiction book. I had a luxurious silent lunch alone at Appleebees. I read some great emails from blog readers and texts from old friends. Then I came home to a candlelight dinner made by my husband. Afterwards, I got a trio of funny cards from my kids and gifts of chocolates and a Target bracelet that says "Believe in the beauty of your dreams!"
Because I'm a 40 year old who is still nursing at night, I feel asleep in my bed at 9:30 PM. My 11 year old woke me and my husband up at 11:50 PM. We watched the count down at Times Square as a whole family. We had elaborate discussions about music and fashion. We talked about our resolutions for the New Year. It was really, really lovely.