I am officially 38 and have managed to spend my birthday (and the day before and the day after) at home with my husband and kids and close friends. Bliss! I feel like the speaker in “Song of Myself”: I want to shout my barbaric YAWP from the rooftops! A shout that means I AM. And I, most indeed, am.
I am sitting on the couch on my front porch, watching the evening pull to a close, basking in its gentle sunshine, laptop on, well, my lap, writing this missive to me, but also to you.
I am feeling sunburned after spending the afternoon with the kids and Christopher at the community pool where I not only wore my bikini (hence telling IT to shut the Fuck Up), but I also shared an order of Garbage Fries with Christopher, while the kids devoured corn dogs and pizza and Slushees, and the only noise in my head was the buzz of happiness. I even bumped into a friend who asked me how it felt to “be home” for my birthday. She knows my history and asked in all serious kindness. “Fabulous,” I said. Really, I was grinning. Me. Ear to ear.
I am looking forward to leftovers from last night’s Birthday Dinner Party. I helped design the menu:
Assorted Cheeses (Brie, Manchego, Conte, Gorgonzola); Prosciutto and Melon; Olives from the island of Thassos, Greece (the island that is my fantasy home)
Honeymoon Salad (the salad Christopher and I stumbled to on a long walk down a dirt road on the first night of our honeymoon in Tuscany): Chopped Romaine and Fennel, Artichoke hearts, Pine Nuts, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, and Parsley
Anti-Bucharest Seafood Stop in Italy ( a long story: we’d been living in Bucharest, land of most wretched cuisine and took a weekend trip to the Amalfi Coast where we found the most beautiful Seafood Ristorante on the outskirts of Positano): Spaghetti con Frutti di Mare—Spaghetti with Clams, Mussels, Octopus, Squid, Shrimp, and Scallops in a tomato/fennel broth.
All of the above was lovingly cooked by Christopher.
A Provencal Almond-Raspberry-Blueberry Tart (for which most everyone came back for seconds)
I am sitting here, reciting the menu, and what I can say is that IT did not make an appearance AT ALL during the entire night. No guilty eating. No recriminations for eating. No furtive trips to the bathroom. In fact, I even asked Christopher to accompany me to the bathroom as a safeguard. Unheard of!
I am also remembering the absolute wonderfulness (my word), and perfect splendiferousness (Christopher’s word) of my intimate cadre of friends who came to the dinner last night. Complete kindness. Sheer magnanimous goodwill. And just because: my friend Barbara who came all decked out in her gorgeous party dress, a billowy green number that lifted the party to elegant heights. And she wore it because I said, “Let’s do summer frocks.” And she wore it, as she explained, ears twinkling quarter sized crystals, “because I want to celebrate you.” Me. I matter. I am a cause for celebration.
I am also remembering my friend Dan, who arrived late, without his beautiful sidekick Roberta, and sat down at my dining room table and looked at me down the length of said table and said, “You look great. Really. You do. You look great.” And I know he didn’t just mean my shimmery tank top and carefully ironed-flat hair. He meant ME—happy, effervescent, alive.
I am also remembering my friend Jen who lovingly walked with me through this party, keeping me company so I wouldn’t purge, wouldn’t isolate, wouldn’t listen to IT. She helped me take care of myself. Something I never would have imagined allowing a friend to do. “Remember,” she writes in my birthday card, “you walk in light and love.”
I am home, home, home and not at the Millcreek Hospital Pysch Unit or at some Eating Disorders Hospital. I am here, here, here ready to watch fireworks (not mine!) tomorrow with my family.
I am newly decorated. My left wrist now wears a new birthday watch, courtesy of Christopher. Isn’t this how things happen? Not out of coincidence but with purpose? Didn’t I just write a blog talking about my need and desire for Time? And now I have it. Time on my wrist. Time over scars. Time to live and fight and be brave and fierce.