It's my real-life birthday today, I am turning 38 -- a nice number, divisible by 19. I am also 39 weeks preggers, so we're in the home stretch.
While I was doing the dishes around 1 am (since I can't sleep due to the heat, a huge tummy, and a terrible disagreement between my mattress and my back), I received an email from my dad (he's overseas, in my home country). He was congratulating me on my birthday, some awards I had received (he seems to check my faculty site often) and impeding baby news.
And I got very sad.
My husband (who also stayed up late, we're pretty bad that way) asked if it was because I had turned a year older. It's totally not that. I actually care very little for birthdays, my own in particular. In part probably because I am still in my 30s, so still (sort of) young. We'll see how I feel when I turn 40... Largely because I am generally happy with how things look in my life -- I am where I hoped I would be at this age, I have a great family and the job I always wanted, so nothing major to lament. Life is good. (Knocking on wood!)
Seeing my dad's email made me feel quite nostalgic.
You see, I don't really get to see my parents very much at all, and yes it is expensive to travel, for me or for them, but mostly I just don't want to. I am not a very good daughter. They were good parents, so it's not like I have a reason to avoid them. But the longer I stay away the more difficult it becomes to reconnect.
I call my parents on the phone, but rarely, especially my dad, who's hard to pin down. I think they have moved on from me too, pouring their love and attention on my younger sibling who is there. That's OK with me. I had a good childhood. I am grateful to my dad for the good genes he passed on: the talent for math, whatever little gift I have for writing, the perfect eyesight, and the hair which won't start getting grey for many years still.
I generally severed ties with my home country, I don't follow current affairs there. I have a tendency to burn bridges, that's the way I know how to move forward; lingering is hard. I grew up in a large city, a multimillion-people cosmopolitan area; I had a very urban upbringing and still have fairly urban tastes. I loved my city growing up, and especially loved the college years. I hadn't visited the city in more than 5 years, and I may never do it again. There were some awesome bands (I am partial to the garage rock sound) I enjoyed as a teenager and young adult. So, I turned on some music that I listened to when I was growing up (which I never do, it makes me too emotional) and finished the dishes. It was my small nod to my youth which is far both in space and in time. And to my parents who are very far away, and thankfully doing very well without me.
My boys and I will probably go out to eat to celebrate my birthday. There will be lots of chocolate involved.