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Location: Midwest, United States

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Birthdays and Moms

Children’s birthdays are the best, are they not? Not counting the very first (which tends to be a bit of a happy muddle), children relish their annual fetes. I smile when tykes breathlessly tell me their ages...never failing to add when the next birthday is due. Sprites are eager to count the years. It’s as if they are digging their toes into the earth and raising their arms to Heaven to proclaim that they are here to stay...that they are worthy humans...veterans. They have much to celebrate. Life awaits with all of its possibilities.

Age twelve is tough. It feels like such a long year. Somewhere along the way, becoming a “teen-ager” assumes the highest priority in the child’s hierarchy of needs. Teens believe that being a teen-ager is to live in an exalted state. Exciting years those.

Year 20 is another long year. Although, outwardly, we display ennui and cynicism, deep inside we are pleased to think that we are about to acquire the formal title of “adult.” We look forward to walking into a club or bar and ordering a libation that we can enjoy with a worldly sophistication. The annual celebrations become bacchanalia.

Birthdays in the third decade tend to be happy, although a bit more sedate. It is no longer a matter of getting gifts or getting wasted. We celebrate with those who helped us get this far.

There is a whole different feel to birthdays in the 40’s. They become more intimate, more personal. We no longer count the years with glee. We begin to mark time. Our perspectives about life and our selves begin to change. The years begin to take their toll.

Ah, the fifth decade. It has been said that: “The 40’s are the old age of youth, and the 50’s are the youth of old age.” How true. Birthdays are commemorated with personal notes and quiet conversations. They become days of reflection (sometimes atonement). The emotions are much quieter...but deeper. There is much to ponder.

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While I was musing about children and birthdays and such, I came across this:

Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1. Because we're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your Mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home, and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your Mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your Mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

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