Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What I Want

Maybe birthdays don't come from a store, he paraphrased Dr. Seuss, maybe birthdays mean just a little bit more. When I was a kid, birthdays were often measured by the loot. Always impressed by the way my mom listened to my wants, I suppose I shouldn't have been amazed when I got that Fonzie T-shirt. Aaaaay.
Getting the gifts I wanted wasn't the big deal, really. It was the continuation of the story. My older brother continues to celebrate each trip around the sun, since that's the thing that really matters. The gift of life, another chance to get it right. Or foul up in the most spectacular way. Another spin on the big wheel. I'm not getting places as fast as I used to, and the next day I feel the wear and tear of the miles I have put on since the early sixties. More scars, less hair, more wisdom, less enthusiasm for random chance. Getting from point A to point B in as straight a line as possible seems like the best plan, even if the whole thing seems to be dominated by the circular orbit of the earth around the sun.
Five days ago, Edgar's friends met to commemorate his passing nine years ago. This time there was a poster, signed by many, included the date of his arrival on the planet and when he exited. It struck my that these folks were gathering each year to focus on the latter.
It made me think of how, in my twenties, I focused on the day my friend Darren shuffled off his mortal coil. It is the luxury of being so removed from death that you can remain so fascinated by it. It was a novelty. When my father passed away, he did us a mild service of going right around the time of his birthday, so his life has polite bookends that allow us to celebrate a life in total. So often I find myself writing here about how lives end, I should point out that all this observation began fifty-five years ago, and I have never made a full accounting of all those people, friends, family, strangers who made some of the smallest moments in five and a half decades special. I am way behind on my Thank You Cards. And I would like to remind those who loved Edgar to focus on the gift he was while he was here, rather than the tragic circumstances that bring the candles out to the sidewalk every June 16. All our lives we have that opportunity to share with those around us and even though it crushes us to think of it coming to an end, I want to focus on the joy I have experienced as a result of being brought into this world. That is the gift that keeps on giving. Like that loophole in the three wishes: wish for unlimited wishes with that third one.

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