So, I turned 35 on Friday. I feel okay about it, although it is a rather strange thought to know that I am technically not young anymore. You just think you’re always going to be young, you know?
As you can see, I celebrated by inviting my nearest and dearest to one of my favourite summer pastimes – a good ol’ fashioned baseball game at the beautiful Nat Bailey stadium. It was such good times – good friends, good cider, good French fries, many hands to hold little Keaton. It was a spectacular game, too – triple play, huge home run and other excitement. Our team (Vancouver Canadians – where not a single actual Canadian plays!) won 11 – 4. This was especially exciting because quite often they get totally creamed. But not on Friday night. They totally pulled out all the stops, especially for my birthday.
After this exhilarating game we went back to my and Joshua’s place for birthday cake, so kindly supplied by my mum. Black Forest, my favourite! And then there were gifts – such thoughtful, sweet gifts: Lush stuff from my sisters; a glass owl wine stopper; jewelry; a new CD by the band Mumford & Sons (I was a little taken aback – wow, people still buy CDs?); wine journals; glass ladybug straws (glass straws – how decadent!); Alicia Paulson’s Embroidery Companion, soon to come in the mail from Heather (soooo excited!), and more fun stuff. On Sunday my dad and stepmum came for a visit, and then the dreamy, exhilarating fun of the birthday weekend was over.
This morning, or maybe it started setting in last night, a wave of melancholy washed over me. I guess it’s also the end-of-summer melancholy that affects many, but for me it’s always been wrapped up with my birthday, too. Having my birthday fall in late August, as it does, is always a herald of change and transition for me. (It also means that people are always away, and as a kid, my mum would let me wait to have my birthday parties in September. Thanks, Mum!) Knowing that my birthday is coming up always meant that those blissful, carefree days of summer were ending, and soon a new school year would start. The birthday itself I like(d), but the time of year not so much. Bittersweet, I guess you’d call it. I usually loved school; that wasn’t really the issue. I think it all comes down to the fact that I’ve always had a hard time with change. Transition. Anything involving things no longer being as they were, I have a tough time with. I’ve gotten a bit better with it over the years, but not much. I’m a sentimental, nostalgic sap, that’s why!
Case in point: In Grade 1 I had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad teacher named Mrs. Downs. She was mean, and dastardly, and cruel. She had Desk Cleaning-Out Days, where she would dump over all the desks that she deemed untidy. Once she even dumped over a desk with a kid still sitting in it. (They were those old fashioned metal ones with the desk part and the chair part attached.) She yelled and swore on a daily basis. She made fun of me for having a pencil box that was actually a shoebox wrapped in wrapping paper (my mum did it, so beautifully), and not a store-bought one like the other kids. So you may get the picture – she was a total biotch. But when the school year ended, despite the fact that I has hated Mrs. Downs the entire school year, I cried myself to sleep for several nights because I would miss Mrs. Downs. I don’t think it was that horrible teacher I was going to miss, it was the change part of the whole thing.
But getting back to the birthdays and transitions thing. That’s happening again with this birthday, and this time of year. Unlike the Mrs. Downs thing, however, this is a good change. But it’s still hard, and I still have that sense of melancholy at the change of pace. My year of maternity leave has ended, and now it’s time for a major transition – getting into the swing of things with a brand new job and getting Keaton used to his new babysitter (while I’m teaching). I feel excited though, to start this whole new career as a university instructor. It’ll be interesting to see where it takes me.
And, before we know it, my little man will turn 1, on September 3rd. It’s been an amazing year, Mr. Keats.