I tend to get a bit reflective on my birthday, pensive, sentimental and the like. For some, this sort of thing is a New Year’s sort of thing, but it’s my personal fiscal year-end that waxes me nostalgic.
I started the day early, about 6:00 a.m. (note: very unusual!), and stumbled downstairs to make pancakes for breakfast (with ingredients, not out of the bottle). Typically during the summer months, my husband is out of the house by 7:00 a.m., and stepson gets up just before 7, turns on the television, and waits for the nanny while he eats a Pop Tart. I get up at some point during all this, and race out to the office just before 9:00 a.m., and have my breakfast and coffee there. At Casa de Debtonaire, mornings are peppered with love-you’s, have-a-good-day’s, and see-you-later’s shouted over the banisters at high velocity – this is the sum total of our a.m. family interaction.
Today at the breakfast table, like civilized humans, my husband I talked about our day and week ahead. We were both surprised that my stepson, adorably rumpled but less than gregarious on a normal morning, apparently IS capable of eating more than half a cold toaster pastry when provided decent food (five pancakes!), and also speaks in sentences rather than mono-syllabics once properly fueled. Particularly for a Monday, it all felt astonishingly warm and sane. As I drank my coffee and poured maple syrup over my amoeba-shaped but quite edible pancakes, I wondered, reproachfully, about why I had never picked up the spatula in the past. Why I had not made this small effort, and, more importantly, why had it never before occurred to me to do so? What do I really gain by retaining an hour or so of sleep a couple days a week? It’s a fact that I will never be mistaken for June Cleaver, but I would (and will) do this breakfast thing again (and next time have resolved to get out of bed 5 minutes earlier to put in my contacts and apply lip gloss, sans pearls, but as a la Mrs. Cleaver as I can muster).
Last year, my birthday fell on a Sunday. It was an average day. I was at the office. I was always working – work was my habit and my pleasure. My company was launching new ventures, it was apparent that we were the brink of the kind of success I had always dreamed of, strove and suffered for. Finally, most deservedly, I thought, Fate was finally recognizing my potential, my true ability . . . As I sat in my corner office, amid the unremitting torrent of phone calls and emails, and meetings, and travel and red-blinking blackberry notification lights and conference calls at all hours of the day and night, I could hear the money machine cranking up in the background, well-oiled gears clickety-clicking, all the better to provide me with my due reward.
However, if you have been reading this blog or living anywhere besides under a rock, you are painfully aware that the perfect economic storm gobbled up prosperity all over the globe, leaving me and scores of others like me, trying to within my actual means (rather than my imagined means).
I am one of the lucky ones. My only true injury was a sucker punch directly to the ego. I am still employed (one of three employees remaining on staff) thanks to generous cash infusions by the owner of the company. I am hopeful that my position will be secure through year-end. I turn a mental cartwheel each and every payday. I am also lucky that my husband is working, and that I don’t truly need to learn to wax my own legs or color my own hair and do so to only to avoid further ebbing my personal flow of conspicuous consumerism. Our house is fine for now, although our plans for a home gym and finished basement are currently off. More importantly, miraculously even, after years and in some cases decades of neglect, I have retained relationships with my stepson, my husband, and my family and friends.
Tonight my husband has a work dinner, an intercompany meeting of regional executives. (Remember those? Tony restaurants, chortling, backslapping and other displays of alcohol-enhanced comradery. . . ) I can’t even give my husband a hard time about his work event, birthday or no. Not only does he feel guilty, but he clearly has the short end of the stick – in his absence, my stepson is taking me to see Ice Age 3, and there is a strong probability of dinner at California Pizza Kitchen as well. And this is what I am wearing for my birthday date:
P. S. Back to my usual semi-vapid non-self-reflective self next post, I promise . . .