The end of every November Brienne has a birthday, and then, sure as the spinning of the earth on which our birthdays depend, seven days later I too have a birthday. Exactly one week apart.
This year our birthdays fell on Fridays and were overshadowed by Walk to Bethlehem. Neither of us were too upset by that. Brienne lives to sing, act and be on stage, performing is a chance for her to express who she is and what she wants to contribute to her community and the world.
She's doing something she loves and that's a good way to spend a birthday, even if you're exhausted at the end of the day.
Brienne got this crocheted hat at Trail Days in Damascus, VA
while we were hiking the AT
she's grown so much since that hike, and a lot has changed in her life but she still has the hat
this year she added those adorable pom-pom ears
One week later I spent my birthday at homeschool co-op all day, then shuttling kids to cast call, attending the performance myself (a nearly three hour affair with the line-up and walk through), warming up and waiting till the last scenes wrapped up, then driving a car load of teens home after midnight.
My birth"day" didn't feel like it was about "me", but it didn't need to. I was deeply grateful for the opportunity to be so involved in my teens lives, to know their friends, to be the person who drives them home; a car of happy, chatting, healthy (in body and spirit) teenagers on a Friday night. I went to bed so very satisfied.
"She's doing something she loves and that's a good way to spend a birthday, even if you're exhausted at the end of the day."
We celebrated both of our birthdays with Saturday brunchs on our respective weekends, squeezed in between the previous late night and Saturday afternoon's cast call. I cooked a "by request" breakfast for Brienne's birthday and we gave gifts to the birthday girl, as is our tradition for our children's birthdays.
For my birthday Damien and I went out, while the kids slept, to a popular brunch restaurant in our neighborhood.
Damien's moccachino topped with toasted homemade marshmallow
I didn't eat much for the rest of the day after this breakfast
We've walked past this place many times, a line-up snaking out the door and around the corner. Behind the large glass windows tables are packed with satisfied customers eating gorgeous plates of food, sitting in plush velvet chairs. We've always wanted to try it. A birthday was a great opportunity.
This year Brienne and I are in the unique situation of having our ages be the inverse of each other. She is fourteen and I am forty-one. This is the first time this has happened. I did the math, this pattern that will now repeat for us every 11 years. So in eleven years I'll be 52 and she will be 25, another eleven years 63 and 36...74 and 47, 85 and 58, (96 and 69?)
I checked briefly to see if I share this numerical relationship with the other two kids, and it appears I don't. (I could be wrong, I didn't spend a lot of time in the numbers.)
What is sobering is that the next time we have an inverse birthday Brienne will be a woman. She could easily be married, possibly a mother. I was a mother at her age. When she's 25 I will be 52. Completely done raising and homeschooling my children. In a different phase. A phase completely unknown to me.
Both possibilities, Brienne being a 25 year old woman and me a 52 year old woman, is in our future and yet what that future holds is so uncertain. I don't even know what the next year holds.
Which is one of the reasons I am so grateful for life right now, in this "moment" of three teenagers and performances, and driving, and homeschool co-op. I am so thankful for these years I still have with my children, invested deeply and actively in all the comings and goings. My children, my heart, they will grow up, but they aren't yet, and that maybe is the best birthday present for me.