Tuesday, May 25, 2010

They say it's my birthday

Well, actually, yesterday was my birthday. Forty-eight years ago on Monday at about 10 a.m., I made my first entry into the world. It was not a propitious beginning. My mother, being somewhat ahead of her time, was trying to give birth without pain medications and struggled against the doctor as he insisted she have demerol. Long story short, the needle broke off in her arm, she got a hefty dose and I was born a little bit drugged. Oh, and the doctor slit the top of my head during the episiotomy. Really, it had to go up from there, right?

That said, I'm not feeling particularly enthusiastic about my birthday this year. Maybe it's the old thing. I look in the mirror these days and, well, I feel old. Plus, we're super-busy. My oldest (affectionately known around here as Thing 1) is graduating from high school and there are parties and arrangements and college things to deal with. My youngest (that would be Thing 2) is right at the end of a long soccer season and we've spent three of the past five weekends out of town. Plus we just moved my mother from one senior facility to another which went about as well as something like that can go which is to say it was hideous.

Is it any wonder I'm not feeling festive?

That said, for my birthday, I asked for my whole family to spend all of Saturday cleaning out the garage. We needed to all be there to make decisions on what to toss and what to keep. I wanted the kids to be the ones making the decisions about their stuff and my boyfriend to be making the decisions about his stuff. Turned out it was a good thing. I would have totally guessed wrong.

My boys wanted to keep an ancient pastel drawing I'd done of the cat we had when they were little, but had no sentimental attachment whatsoever to their father's old leather motorcycle jacket. That would not have been my guess at all. Seventeen year old boy? I would totally have gone with the cool leather jacket from Brazil with a pocket that was ripped in a motorcycle accident rather than a poorly rendered sentimental drawing of a black cat asleep on a table with a lace tablecloth. I would have been wrong.

Of course, they remember the cat, but they don't remember the motorcycle (he got rid of it before they were born). Still, it got me to thinking about what we have sentimental attachments to. I would not have predicted that I would have blithely tossed my wedding dress with the little matching hat and shoes onto the Goodwill pile and burst into tears when I ran across my father's down jacket with the duct tape patching on the right shoulder. No one will ever wear that jacket. It's still in the garage.

So now I'm thinking about what my heroine might have her in her garage and what it might say about her. What do you all have in your garages?


Karen W said...

Good post Eileen. I'm with you there, having just turned - gulp - 49 earlier this month.

The funny thing my daughter wanted to keep over everything was this box with a model of the solar system that she'd made with her birth father back in fourth grade. Me, I've got all my old LP albums - and I don't even own a turntable to play them on. But I can't let them go.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Happy birthday!!! And what a birthday present...honestly, I understand. When I was a girl and we'd visit my mom's folks, my mom would open up this little crawlspace behind her bed and show me all her treasures, which included a box of all the dried corsages from her high school dances - with notes about who she went with and what she wore. I was so totally enchanted by this growing up, that I did it too. So, I have a box of crumbly dried out wrist corsages from all my high school dances.

Eileen said...

Oh, Karen, LPs and no turntable? I think I got rid of those in the last purge about five years ago. I know how hard that one is.

Molly, that is so unbearably sweet! I love that!

Maureen McGowan said...

My mom is a memory keeper, too. And last summer we moved them out of their house into a condo and boy it was tough.

Thinking about what your character keeps is an AWESOME character detail. Even if it doesn't end up in every book, it's a good thing to know about a character.

Happy Birthday, Eileen! We're practically twins. (Except that I now know you're twenty days younger. You're going to lord that over me, aren't you.)

Kristen Painter said...

Happy birthday! Mine was the 21st.

I'm sentimental about very little, so our garage mostly holds my husband's crap.

Eileen said...

I'm younger than you, Maureen? I would not have guessed that. Even if it's only 20 days. Way to age, girlfriend! I'm hoping that bit about what a character keeps will come in handy. I think my heroine just became the proud owner of a memento of her brother that she hides some place.

Kristen, you would not believe the pep talks I was giving myself before I headed out to that garage about not investing objects with meaning. I wish I wasn't sentimental. I really think it would make life much more serene. Happy birthday by the way! Maybe I can buy you a drink in Orlando to celebrate . . . :-)

Maureen McGowan said...

I was heartbroken -- seriously heartbroken -- when my LPs were damaged in a flood in my basement about 5 years ago. Worse, an old photo album. I still haven't thrown out the LPs... I expect the records themselves are okay, but not the covers... and really, with LPs, a lot of it is about the covers. Beyond seeing that they'd been wet and were disintegrating and stuck together, I haven't been able to bring myself to really go through them.
I had some awesome late 70's punk stuff that can never be replaced. Bands too obscure to have ever been released on CD.

Plus, I had things like the original Partridge Family album. (Christmas present when I was 8, I think.) And a bunch of K-tel records. My dad used to bring them home as gifts for us from business trips.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Happy Birthday Eileen! And puleeze. 49 is the new 29. Everyone says.

I try to THROW everything out. I have gone through my closests and cleaned out every one dumping the 10+ years of accumulated stuff.

The one thing that I can't part with - my Dad's ratty old golf clubs and bag. Don't use them, don't really golf. I got them during an attempt to golf. We were going to go together but then life happened.

So each year - I think just do it and get rid of them. Each year I don't.

Karen W said...

Partridge Family! OMG! I think I have the Christmas Album. And a lot of Led Zeppelin, Leonard Skynard, and other stuff from my teenage years.

That's why I can't through them away. Such memories. I tried once. But couldn't do it.

A lot of May babies posted today - go Taurus (and a Gemini or two!)

Sinead M said...

There would be books in my garage and not much else. I'm of the throw it out persuasion..

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