I’m not great at looking at things logically. I’m not good at anything that entails studying one point and logistically figuring out how it’s supposed to connect to the other point. I prefer the intricacies in between. The emotional connections, let’s say, instead of the linear ones.
That’s why I’ve been a bit morose this week. A logistical, practical woman would think, it’s my son’s birthday– hooray. I, on the other hand, have been teary-eyed. Thirty-five years ago my little boy was born 10 days too late and too big to come out the ‘normal’ way. I tease him that it explains his personality.
Back then, as labor pains progressed and I was stretched out on the surgery table, I insisted that the doctor could not perform the caesarian until the mirror above me was placed just so. Just so I could watch the baby’s birth. I was tied down and could only see the ceiling and eyes staring out of the doctor’s mask. But I needed some control, so no cutting until the mirror was adjusted.
And then there he was, my son, being pulled from the wound in my abdomen, the umbilical cord around his neck, hands pulling it down and over the baby’s shoulders and body, and then a scream.
The baby’s scream, not mine. I’ve been forever grateful that I was able to view my boy born from me, because otherwise, at times, I’d wonder – “did this kid really come from me?”
But he was an affectionate child. Hard as rock many times, but soft and cuddly as cotton others. And on his birthday, I think about the years of teaching, loving, coddling, training, tickling, yelling, pushing, pulling him into adulthood. Never easy, yet glorious each day. And now, he is a 35-year-old man who loves his mom, but looks at things logically, not emotionally. His mother’s day card to me is sitting on his dresser, still unsent; his phone calls come erratically; his love is felt, rather than heard.
So on my son’s birthday this week, I thought of the words of 81-year-old actress Maggie Smith during a 60 Minutes interview. Asked how she liked aging, she responded, “A friend says to me it’s like having breakfast at every meal.”
I was puzzled, until she explained further. “I can’t for the life of me figure out how life can go by so fast. I blink, and the next day has arrived.”
Oh, yeah, I get that. My children are in their 30s now, for god’s sake. What happened to my life? There is no linearity in aging – it’s an emotional rollercoaster that goes up and down, faster and faster, getting us, well, where exactly?
I don’t believe there’s a logical, linear answer to this question. I suppose that’s why I don’t believe in straight lines.