What’s a significant birthday?
I’ve been trying to write this for a while, and I think my problem is I’m not sure I’ve had a significant birthday. For some reason, forty comes to mind as a productive birthday. That year, I finally conquered the classes standing between me and an AA degree, even though I had four kids under the age of six. I had to take three math classes: “Dumb stuff I should have learned in middle school,” “Dumb stuff I should have learned in high school,” and “Dumb stuff I needed to learn for some kind of degree.”
My husband used to load up all the kids in the car and drop me off so I didn’t have to pay for a parking permit and also, so I didn’t have to walk out to the lot late at night by myself. One time, I remember, Zack had the kind of high fever only kids get when they have relatively benign viruses, and I felt horrible leaving them.
Also, there was my math bugaboo. For some, this will be difficult to understand, but women my age got very mixed messages about education. We were sort of caught between fifties ideology and first wave feminism so while we often heard the message women can do anything, the reality might have been that our math teachers were still opining that “Boys are better at math, so it’s understandable that you don’t get it,” and “you’ll never have to use this because you’ll only be a housewife, anyway.”
Of course later, I realized–maybe somewhere around forty–that being a “housewife” and particularly being a “Mother” meant I would need every single skill I’d ever learned in school and in life, but that’s a digression.
When I turned forty, my children yelled “Go mama, go mama, go mama,” while doing that stir the dance kids did back then, as I walked across the stage and got a diploma I never believed I could get.
My family still supports whatever I do. That makes every birthday blessed, if not significant.
In honor of Amber’s birthday, I’ll be giving away a copy of “Three Vlog Night.”