I woke up at 7:30 and fed the fish and birds and checked the cats’ dishes. Bits of food and litter sand are scattered on the laundry room floor and I think, “I’ll deal with that later”. I collect dishes set about the kitchen and push uneaten food and napkins into the trash and put them in the sink to soak. I’ll deal with that later too. I sit down on the stairs that go up to the second level of the house and check my Fitbit stats for yesterday and last night and open my email app which reveals whose birthdays are today, thanks to Facebook. Otherwise, I would not know.
It’s typically someone that I used to know. Someone Ive met along the way but don’t really talk to anymore. Friends or relatives of my exes or someone whose house I used to get invited to for parties. Or friends of friends who I maybe have never talked to and connected just because Facebook suggested it. They all have birthdays. And when I open my email on that day, that’s when I know.
If I don’t open my email (or twitter) I might miss your birthday. I’m sorry about that. I really am. I know how much it means to you. Another year around the sun is worth something. It means a lot to me and so do you.
There are very few birthdays I actually have memorized. My parents and siblings, my children of course, my ex-husband and my fiancé. My friend from HS, Danielle and a former co-worker Chris, both of whom I have not spoken to for years. Their birthdays are on Christmas Day and that’s one you don’t forget. My Texas Bestie, Rebecca is easy to remember because it’s the day after mine. Beyond that, all bets are off.
Some people I have a general sense for the time of year, but forget the specific day. Din-din for example has her birthday around the time of the College World Series, so sometime in June but not sure exactly what day. Steph is sometime after that, also in June. Kel’s is in December because it always is sometime around our traditional cookie baking day but again, I don’t know the day. Erika and Amy and Kristy and Wendy and Rebecca are all August. I remember that because mine is too.
Today is Marcus’s birthday but I don’t really know him anymore. Only what I see on Twitter and FB. He’s still the same dude, following his passions in life and that is something I have a great deal of respect for. I had a party once, and I think he showed up. That was years ago in a life that is so distant now it feels like a hazy dream. The last time I saw him in person it was at his mom’s funeral and aside from giving him and his brother and cousin hugs and brief words of love, I only remember my own grief. There were faces from a life I was having a hard time letting go of. People I had to distance myself from for my own good.
Places and sights and smells and music are reminders, but people are also reminders and when you are hurting, sometimes you have to let them go too, you know? All those people remind me of my life with Matt and I remember talking briefly with Jenomaha in the back of the visitation room and she said something (I can’t recall what) and I lost my shit and tears welled up in my eyes and I had to try really hard to resist crying. I was embarrassed and felt so guilty for being so selfish and overcome with my own pain at someone else’s grieving time.
Sometimes when FB reminds me of something, I’m inspired to think for a while about it and sometimes I just want to forget it again.
As a general rule, with regard to birthday reminders, if I have that persons direct number I will text or call them to wish them a happy day. I doubt I have Marcus’s number. Just as well.
It’s time now to get to doing all my chores. Litter boxes and dust bunnies and thirsty plants are waiting for me. I’m kinda hungry too. Perhaps I’ll have a bowl of cereal or some toast. Pancakes would take too much effort.
Happy Sunday Ya’ll, and Happy Birthday if Today is Your Day.