Perceptions are a part of life I typically find delightful. There is an infinite amount of miniscule details that can be found in the ordinary moments of every day. Intentionally I try to seek these out, yet sometimes happen upon them accidentally. To observe what might often go unnoticed, those are the details, the trivialities I find most intriguing.
And then there are times when I wish I could flip an internal switch and let the unnoticed remain just that… I could see the strain, see the pain. And as much as I hoped, as much as I wanted to deny reality, I could see his strength lessening. Not in spirit, but physically. My birthday hug from dad came with a little less vigor. He hadn’t been well for a couple of months, but it was just his back still bothering him, right? Perceptions of these changes screamed at me to savor these moments.
As the ever-hilarious and highly off-pitch rendition of “Happy Birthday” was being delivered in my honor from my family, I mentally was telling myself to hold close this voice, this memory. To cherish his voice.
I wanted my premonitions to be incorrect, to find that my perceptions had come from some random point of deception. Maybe it would look differently if I just broke down and wore my glasses or contacts for once? Yet I just knew something was just around the corner… so I did something intentionally, purposefully and in preparation of the unknown.
While it’s not that out of the ordinary for me to do so, I will admit I don’t always save cards given to me. There’s only so much I can hold onto in life, and only so much space in my house.
But last year? Last year I treasured the birthday card from my parents. So few words written from dad, yet they meant so much to me. I carried the card on the visor of my Jeep for months after receiving it. It traveled with me all the months that he battled his cancer. Through all of the drives to the hospital, that pink envelope carrying those special words remained nearby.
Sometimes I’d open the card, read the words and feel their comfort. And comfort they still bring, though I no longer carry the card in my car. I keep it safely tucked away for moments I need reminders of him.
I’ve gotta say, as this weekend and my birthday approaches, I’m not as excited about it as I could be. It might be that I’m not thrilled about the number that’s trying to assign itself to me. I still want to refuse to grow up. Let me read my comics and play with the Lord of the Rings Lego sets, please?
But I also don’t anticipate the day because I know that, when the time comes for the never-ending tradition of lit candles and birthday songs, there will be a voice absent. A voice of someone I love. Someone I know loves me still.
I have it in writing.
Do you have any odd birthday traditions? Am I the only one who is refusing to age?