I had the great pleasure of celebrating another birthday on the weekend. I have always enjoyed having a birthday but never so much as I do now. Its meaning has deepened and as I awoke on the morn of my forty-first birthday, life reverberated with a powerful richness.
In the past my birthday celebrations had been a chance to get my friends together. A dinner or some drinks, it didn’t really matter provided I could enjoy their company. I didn’t really care for the obligation of gift giving but lovingly welcomed many beautiful things over the years. The festivities always had an element of the care-free to them and the aging aspect never bothered me. A birthday would present me with an opportunity to dream big for the coming twelve months. To imagine one of my creative endeavours taking off or to be united with a soul mate. Perhaps a trip overseas or one of my writing projects being completed. There were so many things to yearn for.
Now I feel that the aging is the most important thing. You see, my dream is to get old. In fact I am often drawn to people older than myself as I felt they could offer me something more. I loved to hear the stories of someone who had been born at a different time to me. There was always much to learn about life.
I have pictures of old women on a vision board on my bedroom wall. There is one smiling woman that I am drawn to every time. Grey hair frames her weathered face. Eyes that twinkle with decades of memories and experiences. A smile that is innocent and knowing all at once. She has been the observer of a long life. Her appearance just reflects all the changes she has seen and her participation in a lifetime journey. For me that can only be beautiful. I do not see ugliness in aging.
That’s what I want. As I become long in the tooth, I will delight in being ‘no spring chicken’. Seamus I want you to look upon me in my antiquated form, knowing that we had time together. I want my golden years to begin right now and go on for many more to come because the currency between us is priceless. The currency is love.
It is my desire to watch you grow up and to participate in your life. To see you evolve into a little boy and a teenager and then into a man. To cherish those small moments of ordinariness that are the gems of our every day. To wonder who on earth taught you that swear word and ponder whether it may have been me. To dab a Dettol soaked cotton wool ball on a grazed knee. To ask you to get that jar from the top shelf that I cannot reach. To warmly greet that someone special that you have brought home to meet us.
I want to get to know who you are. To listen to your dreams and aspirations. To tell you my stories. To make memories with you.
Last year I had the idea of all of us making a painting with our handprints. Your brothers and your Daddy painted theirs while I helped you with yours. I then set about creating my own canvas. I was very pleased with my effort and as I stood admiring my work I did not notice you dipping your hand in some yellow paint. You thought you would make a mark on my creation and before I could grab you, you had hold of the top corner. Afterwards when I looked at your little hand print, I realised it looked like a sun. It was so incredibly perfect and I could not have planned anything better.
As the sun returned to the same place it was on the day I was born, I recognised that you are the shining heavenly body giving light to my life.
You are my Shining Son and I want to bask in your glow for many more years to come.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage” – Lao Tzu