Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day

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.


  1. Angry is ok. I don't think anyone could blame any of us from being angry from time to time. God knows I still am.
    Happy birthday though, my friend. Raising a slice of cake in your honour.

  2. happy birthday, sara. anger is hard - i haven't been comfortable with that part of it either. yet it's been here for so long now that i may be getting used to it. i think anger is especially hard for women. we're not really "allowed" to be mad, even though we have every reason to be. in any case, i hope you enjoy that chocolate cake! thinking of you. xo

  3. Happy birthday. Glad you now have a far, faster, heating up oven!
    I'm not great at dealing with anger either. Like Jenni, I guess I was brought up with the idea it was somehow unfeminine. Sometimes the little things anger me and then I get angry with myself for letting them anger me when I should have more perspective. It's like a little anger pile up.
    Enjoy your cake, sounds delicious. x

  4. Happy belated birthday! I hope the cake was delicious.

    Anger is a sneaky, infiltrating jerk. It keeps popping up in our household, too, usually when I've had the gall to think I've gotten rid of it (kind of like a really depressing game of whac-a-mole). I'm so glad the new oven vanquished some of yours.