Here in the U.S. it's Flag Day, a minor little holiday that most people haven't heard of that holds a special place in my heart because it also happens to be my birthday. When people ask when my birthday is, I tell them June 14, Flag Day. They all remember Flag Day, though they never really remember when that is.
So here I am, marking another year. It was an uneventful day. I didn't take the day off from work like I usually do, though I only had to put in about two hours. I didn't go out to eat or take a hike or go canoeing. Mostly I waited at my house for the repairman to come fix my oven which has been on the fritz for months. He called 15 minutes before the end of the four-hour window to say he was running late but would be there just after four. And I was livid, because I have better things to do on any day and especially my birthday. I could have gone out to lunch or gotten a free sundae at Herrell's. But he fixed the oven, and as I watched the temperature climb as it preheated to 350 in a mere 12 minutes (instead of the 45 minutes to never it had been doing) I was amazed and my mood reversed. It seemed like a pretty good birthday present to have a working oven, even if I had to write a largish check for it.
So today I waited and was annoyed and I thought about where I am and who I am as I hit 38. I do this on my birthday, it's kind of a check-in, follow-up to the self-analysis I do at New Years. I recently commented on another blog that I'm learning to know and mostly like the person I am since Henry died. But I'm not sure that's true. More and more I feel like the little things, the ones that really shouldn't bother me because I have perspective, do bother me. I am often irritated or angry at Brian. Sometimes I feel like we are back at the beginning, right after Henry died, when we couldn't communicate. We both literally could not find the right words, even when they were simple like milk or shirt or book. And we couldn't seem to comprehend what the other was saying, even when the words were there. I thought we moved past that, but some days it feels like we're still there, or maybe I'm just there floundering for my words and feeling misunderstood. But I don't like the anger the seems ever ready to bubble up. I thought always thought anger was the smallest part of grief for me, but maybe that's where I'm at in the process now. In any case, I don't like it, don't like this part of me. So this, this is what I'd like to change as I move into a new year of me.
Today my anger dissipated with a small, new part for my oven. If only it were all that simple.
Tomorrow, I'll eat a very decadent chocolate cake (my recipe made by somebody else with her equally decadent frosting), and some night when Brian isn't working, we'll get a babysitter and go out for a nice dinner together (already dreaming about what I might eat), and it will begin to feel like a proper birthday. And I will breathe and smile and try to be a less angry person.