Love Letter to the Birthday Boy

Yes, I really love the boy in you.

Inquisitive, curious and sometimes frightened; I wonder how you played as a boy in your family with so many siblings.  I love it when you become playful and are not afraid of being judged.

The adolescent, I am not sure about him yet.  A studious boy, he was, I think.  Always reading; maybe drawing a bit; but, it was not encouraged.  He received the message of marry, have children and work, work and work in your profession to prove yourself a worthy man.  I wonder if he is the one who becomes so angry?  At those times, I see you lose your words and control is very important.  I feel like you want to put me on the stage and manipulate me as the character(s) you believe me to be.

The sad man you can be now worries me.  I see not as much reason for sadness as you do.  The aspects of your life you thought were taken do not seem to me to be gone.  These characteristics of attachment and loyalty were what drew you to me.  If one or two people did not appreciate you and want to live with you; that is on them.  Perhaps, they have/had their own issues of control, greed and other reasons for their decision making.  Please take me from the box with them.  It is unfair and I think you know better already.

Part of growing old is feeling sadness and being lonely and realizing all the opportunities I missed.  Another part of growing old is having time for a lap used in many different ways during a day; holding a granddaughter, having you put your feet or head on me as we lay resting and having my hands full of the current fiber art project I am making.  When you see me idle, it might be best to remember I am seldom still and you have not really seen me in my element as mother and grandmother.   While your notions of my career are close; you still do not have the understanding of what I did, with whom I worked or for how long.  I think knowing an accomplished woman in an intimate way is very different from having women platonic friends who are strong.

Your ability to admire the strengths comes from much which is unknown to you.  You do not see their struggles like you have seen mine.  Many times in mid and late life, a woman has chosen which path she is on; forsaking work for her family or leaving family in order to have a life for herself.  I have not done that as much as I am criss crossing trying to find my way in this mixed up life in which I find myself.  Philosophers may say your life is what you make it; but, I do not think that counts for emergencies, childbearing and floods.  This theory seems to me to leave a great deal of lived experience absent from the picture of life.

Yes, I love you on your birthday and the day before and the day after.  I hope we can find a way back to each other.  I do not think I left; but, I did want to.  How much of your critique of me can I take before I go into the old lady phase where having a man around is more trouble than he is worth?  You might want to ask yourself if you will be happy with this answer as it is generally more true of women than men.  I think you want more.  Perhaps, it is your turn to step up to the plate and decide if you will stand by me.

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