Back when I was dating Eric for like, 5 minutes, I got caught up in the moment (the whole thing was caught up in the moment honestly) and told him about a gift I’d always wanted but hadn’t told anyone about.  Both our birthdays are in October and somehow one topic led to another and I spilled.  Somehow that makes me feel like my birthday has something of a broken promise about it, maybe moreso about the idea of being in a relationship again than the gift, but it’s there nonetheless.

On the rare occasion when I get caught up feeling lonely I really kick myself hard about it.  I am always counting my blessings, I really am.  I even do it with Bing Crosby’s voice singing away in my head.  I do it while I’m washing dishes or making Sunday dinner or reading on the pappasan.  I do it when my wrists hurt and when I drink tea from my favorite teacup and when I see J riding his bike around the neighborhood out the window.  I do it no matter what the scale says and no matter what my bank account balance is.  You have no idea how privileged I feel to be here.  Sometimes I feel like an alien, marveling at my own emotions, tickled to no end just to be alive – nevermind under such grand circumstances. 

My mom is throwing me a little birthday party at her house this weekend, and although I complain I don’t need the attention the truth is I’m really glad she does it.  It makes me feel loved.  It’s weird – this is my first birthday in four years where my dad and my sister H are in my life.  He’ll probably get me a present, and I’ll let him.  She probably won’t, but if she does, although she owes me thousands in back child support, I won’t criticize her.  (She’s taking nursing classes – I’m more than a little astonished at this turn of events.)  My older brother will probably send me a text message from California.  And my baby brother and sister, who everyone knows are dearest to me, will be at my mom’s party too, along with both my nephews. 

How in the world did I get here, I wonder. 

I’m not sure I mentioned it but I organized a weekly coffee with some amazing single moms I know.  We’re all home-based, we all live in the same town, and all our kids are friends.  It’s been so nice to get out of the house and to talk to them.  They’re really kickass women with a great deal of drive and moxy.  They’ve been through a lot, just like I have – though in a different way, and being with them is reassuring and well, fun.  They make me feel better about being where I am, literally in town and also as a mother.  When I’m with them I never think about what I don’t have; I feel like a writer and a singer and a career woman and a great mom and basically a smart person.   I really, really love that.

I haven’t thought about it for a while, but I’m suddenly reminded of J’s name.  When I adopted him I had the chance to change his name around, which I took advantage of because everyone called him by his middle name, so I moved that forward, and I got rid of his bio dad’s surname and gave him mine.  I also wanted to add in my own middle name as part of it, so I added “Sean”.  It means “gift from god” and though I’m not theistic I did like that idea that he was a gift. 

And now, thinking of that makes that stupid little present I asked for seem like nothing at all.