Tag Archives: birthdays

Bad Timing Birthday Brings Bonus

 Having a birthday in early June is a matter of bad timing.

I don’t blame my parents (it’s a tad late for that), but for those of you who may now be considering an attempt to conceive a child this coming September for a planned early June arrival, I have these words of advice: “Don’t do it.”

June 2 is the date of my birth. It has not been an optimal one, unfortunately coinciding over the years with many seemingly more important life cycle events belonging to other people.

I have attended many special events on June 2. Instead of having the sole focus on that auspicious date be on ME and MY birthday (“ME” and “MY” are two current favorite words, in high rotation in the vocabulary of my three-year-old grandson),  I have frequently pretended to be happy at someone else’s celebration.

High School graduations, College graduations, anniversary parties, weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, end-of-school-year dinners,  baby showers, engagement events.  All held on the popular early summer date of June 2.

And fyi, if you are a guest at a friend’s big event, it is not considered polite to remark in the middle of their festivities  – “Oh, by the way, it’s my birthday today.” 

No one will care. Instead you have to suck it up and act as if it is their special day alone.

Besides having had to share my birthday more times than I would like, I also have not had good luck with the date itself.

Early June is a busy time. The school year is ending. The summer is starting. Everyone is preoccupied with their own concerns. One year when I was in high school, the only birthday card I received in the mail was from my grandmother. And she spelled my name incorrectly.

(This is true, not because she had dementia at that point in her life, but because I am one of seven grand-daughters all closely clustered in age. So if I received a small, but welcome, birthday check in the mail from my mother’s mother, I was told to endorse it, even it was made out to another of my first cousins.)

At least my grandmother remembered. Unlike some of my other here-unnamed friends and family members who are pretty sure that my birthday falls in early June, even if they cannot quite remember the exact date.

Here it is for you:  June 2. And it is going to be a BIG one this year  —> 65.

A/K/A:

  • The Medicare Year.
  • The Year Your Mail is Flooded With Annuity Retirement Fund Brochures.
  • The Year You Can No Longer Pretend You are Still Middle-Aged.
  • The Year You Have to Stop Saying – “Oh, I’m  in my early sixties.” Because You Are Not. You are now half-way to 70.

Which is fine with me. Because as my Dad likes to say (especially now in his still-early-90’s), better to have a birthday than not.

Earlier this week my Dad’s best friend died. His friend was a brilliant, caring man, a highly respected doctor in my hometown.  He was 91 and sure you can say that he lived to a “ripe old age”, but for him and likely for my Dad, his death came too soon. My Dad, who is far better with words of legal origin than of emotional weight,  cannot bring himself to express his sadness. But he did tell me that with this recent death all of his male pals are now gone. He is the only one left.

All the more reason to celebrate birthdays while you still have them to celebrate. Not to let people forget how important it is to remember that you are still alive, that you still appreciate a carefully-selected card, perhaps a slice of cheese cake with a single candle and a clever email greeting or two.

(Let me state here for the record my firmly held belief that posting a breezy “Happy Birthday” on Facebook after you have been reminded it is a friend’s birthday does not count.  Full credit is awarded ONLY if you remember the person’s birthday of your own accord without a social media prompt.)

And if you are close enough to me that you are considering the purchase of a gift this year, please know that I  already have a drawer full of highly-effective, collagen-building, “youth-preserving” skin moisturizers. Do try to be a bit more imaginative in the present department. Not every 65-year-old woman will gracefully accept the subtle reminder of yet another new anti-aging cream.

But we will gracefully accept being remembered on our birthdays.

On the exact date, if possible. Thank you in advance.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Aging, Aging Parents, Family, Female Friends, friendship, Holidays, Women

What’s in a (Baby’s) Name? – Millennials vs Boomers

NLW baby picture

Our adult daughter has her 32nd birthday this week. It’s her birthday, she gets to celebrate, she gets the gifts – but the memory of the day belongs to me.

Since I was the one who did ALL the work and was present “in the moment” while she made only a brief, late and loud appearance.

My husband was indeed present but not for the entire event. Later a nurse told me he appeared somewhat faint and had to (was asked to) leave the room. He triumphantly returned for the “it’s a girl” announcement and it was he, not me, who responded when the question came –

“What’s the baby’s name?”

Choosing a baby’s name was – and is –  the fun part. But far different today than it was 30-some years ago.

My husband and I felt the weight of expectations of generations that came before us when choosing a name.

Our daughter, pregnant now with her 2nd child, does not feel this weight. Her husband doesn’t either.

It’s not that they are selfish, it is just that they are millennials.

I have done absolutely zero research to reach this conclusion, unless you call my frequent perusal of websites such as babynamewizard and nameberry – and many similar sites for expectant parents of every demographic stripe.

We (boomers) did not have the internet to guide us in selecting a baby name.

We had exactly two sources:

1. Our parents memories and wishes which we listened to.

2. Books of suggested baby names (printed on actual paper) which we read.

When I was pregnant, my aunt sent me a book on baby names designed to help Jewish parents come up with names that honored their deceased relatives as fits our tradition.  I wanted to use my mother’s Hebrew name as a starting point. That led to its own set of arguments as my dad and my mother’s brothers had different recollections of what my mother’s Hebrew name actually was. And she wasn’t around to tell us.

My husband wanted to honor the memory of his grandmother who helped raise him. And I (respecting my own 1970’s feminist ethos) wanted to give the baby my own last name as a middle name.

I was also influenced by, a somewhat inexplicable in retrospect but fervent at the time, admiration for the British royal family owing to a business trip I took to the UK just before I became pregnant in 1983.  Images of babies named Charles, Diana, Edward and Elizabeth filled my dreams.

Ultimately, our daughter and then our son were given lovely, traditional names to honor family members no longer with us.

Our daughter and her husband have more naming options – and stronger voices of their own, like their millennial brethren.

They will pick a name that suits them. And them alone. It won’t be fanciful, or celebrity-based or (I hope) have a bizarre spelling.

Their biggest concern? They don’t want to select a popular baby name that “everyone else” is using. So I know not to expect to have a grandchild named – Daniel or Noah – or Ava or Emma. (sigh, I am fond of those names.)

It’s their baby – and I respect that (though as I edge towards sleep each night, I make mental lists of names I hope they won’t choose – “Please, let them not chose Cole, Cooper or Cale.” Nothing against those names if they are in your family, but they make me squirm.

My husband and I endlessly discussed and discarded baby names (“Kenneth,” No, that sounded like a dentist. “Douglas,” No, that was someone my husband didn’t like in grade school. “Diana,” my husband put his foot down at that one. “Beth,” too timid, as in the famed Little Women character of my childhood favorite book.).

Our millennial daughter and her husband will use spread sheets to guide their baby name decision-making process.

Our son-in-law (yes, you guessed it, he has an MBA) and my born-an-organizational-expert daughter invented a method for their first child’s name that they will adopt for their second.

The other night at dinner this method was explained to me as follows:

  • A month before the baby’s due date, a spread sheet is created
  • The spread sheet contains three columns
  • Column #1 is where our daughter lists her preferred baby names
  • Column #3 is where our SIL lists his preferred names
  • Spread sheet is shared by both parties
  • In the center Column #2  is created on which the overlapping names agreed upon by both parties are listed
  • Spread sheet is again shared
  • The process continue until there are several overlapping names in Column #2
  • Baby name is selected by joint agreement of both parties from among the overlapping names in Column #2

An efficient and effective millennial method of dealing with a highly emotional decision, don’t you think?

Could I live with a new grandchild named Cooper, Cole – or Cale?  Of course. Unless they decide to spell the latter name, Kale, in the ultimate millennial joke on their boomer parents. Then all bets are off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1st Grandchild, Adult Kids, Baby Boomers, Books, Communications, daughters, Empty Nest, Family, Husbands, Marriage, Moms, Parenting, Women

The Perks of More Candles on the Cake – Getting Older Gets Better

iStock_000012608221_Double Birthday Candles

It’s my Birthday this week.

And I am firmly of the belief that it is far better to have a birthday than not – Right?

Which is why I have never understood why some people, unfortunately, it seems this happens more with women than men, speak only in whispers about their age.  Try to evade it when questioned.  Or say coyly – I’m 55 plus – or of a “certain age” – or 60-something.

Why would you want to hide your easiest achievement, something you accomplished just by showing up year after year?

So say it loud, say it proud, I am soon to be 63.

And judging by how my 62nd year has been, I expect 63 will have even more of the perks that getting older has to offer.

Perks you say?  Perks??  You may wonder if I’ve lost it. Tell me, Nancy, just where are the perks in the as-we-age bodily aches and pains? Do you find  benefits in the illness of friends or family? Is there an upside that only you have discovered to death and grieving?

No, of course, not, I’m right there with all of you who experience the many woes that accompany the aging process. I don’t mean to minimize them at all.

But in the past year,  I have found, rather surprisingly, for I am definitely not at all a Pollyanna-sort-of-person, that there are some wonderful aspects about getting on in years. Unexpected Perks! –  that balance out the less fun parts.

I count at least 10 Perks– Here’s my List:

1.  The older I get,the less I care what others think of me. Very liberating.

2. If I start a book, I no longer have to finish it. If it doesn’t wow me, I can put it down and move on to the next good read. No guilt.

3. I’ve given up bristling when someone calls me “ma’am.”

4. Resentments? Old hurts? Not so much. It uses up less energy to leave slights in the past.

5. I’m just as opinionated as ever, but I am trying hard to mute my critic voice. If a friend happens to think that wearing a certain tight blue dress that shows her every figure flaw is an appropriate look, then fine for her. My lips are zipped.

6. I still care about my appearance. I do slather on skin cream every night that promises to “rejuvenate, renew and restore” even though I know it won’t. But I have made a few concessions. I am no longer a prisoner to my blow dryer. And recently I tried a radical experiment and actually left the house to do an errand without wearing any mascara!! And life went on.

7. I know that not everyone I meet will like me  -or “get me” – and that even if they do, they will probably like my husband more. Fine.

8. I don’t expect my adult kids to live their lives in ways that will make me happy. I did my best as a parent, they’ve now grown and flown (mostly) and their jobs are to find their own paths, not to follow mine.

9. I still worry a great deal – mostly about things I cannot control (like my family’s health; curious, because I rarely worry about mine) – but I try to worry about only one thing at a time. This is progress for me.

10. I’ve started to say “I love you” more frequently. I’ve always said it to my husband, kids and family. But as I get older I realize that I love lots of other people to whom I am not related.  It’s good to love your friends, too, and to tell them so. Aging has made me more affectionate. Who knew?

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Back to #1 for a second – while it is true that the older I get, the less I care about what others think of me – the reverse has also occurred. The more candles on the cake, the more I care about what I think about me.

As my standards for others relax, my self standards ratchet up. I expect more of me than I ever did.  I’m in charge, I set the rules of how I live my life from now on. And I’m pretty demanding!

Turning 63 = Liberating, Terrifying, Exhilarating. Carpe Diem!

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Filed under Adult Kids, Aging, Baby Boomers, Books, Empty Nest, Family, Female Friends, friendship, Men vs Women, Semi-Retired, Women