Saturday, June 5, 2010

Birthdays and Cliches

There's an old cliche that claims that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Like most overused sayings, this one has more or less lost its meaning, at least when it comes to my own life anyway. Whenever some kind soul attempted to impart this particular piece of seemingly outdated wisdom on me I would simply smile, nod, and do my best to politely conceal my internal eyeroll. Because really, change is change, right? No need to get overly philosophical about the whole thing.

Tonight we celebrated my beautiful mother's undisclosed-number birthday (hint: she's older than me, which makes her at least 29). We did this by inviting a few friends here in NYC to a small but lovely little birthday dinner. And it might be worth mentioning that this dinner was held at the same restaurant we celebrated her birthday at last year, which was also the day she came to New York for a short visit and ended up leaving behind (temporarily) her husband, home, dogs, friends, and job for what is now a year-long trip and counting -- all for her daughter who suddenly needed more help dealing with end-stage cystic fibrosis.

Um, yeah, talk about a celebration of love.

I don't brag about my family often enough on this blog, honestly. I mean, sure, I might mention my father's crazy antics that keep us all laughing whenever he visits, or the fact that he's now racked up enough frequent flyer miles between Colorado and New York to take us all on a much-deserved vacation when this is all over. And I know I occasionally make reference to my sister's amazing talent, or the fact that she somehow manages to keep us (mostly) grounded even when we're stuck listening to drunk men in the local ER. I even think that I've touched on how grateful I am to my mom, who lives with me, helps me with errands and IVs and the boundless energy of my puppy (who we joke views her as his personal nanny), and accompanies me to every single appointment, even if it just means waiting in the waiting room for moral support. I say these things, of course, but I never really feel like I say them enough.

There wasn't a whole lot I could do today to make mom's birthday extra special. I just recently started a new course of IVs, which of course means I have an infection, and I spent most of the day coughing or sleeping, and trying to rest up for tonight. But I was able to go with her last night to the bakery to pick out some cakes (yes, she got two -- and I dare anyone to claim she's not entitled, although truth be told both were small and to share). I was able to put on a nice dress, wash my hair and make myself look somewhat pretty, and I was able to go out to a dinner that was all about her, exactly as it should be. In the grand scheme of things these small gestures don't feel like all that much for someone who everyday helps make sure I can breathe, get appropriate exercise, and have everything else I need to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances. I know I could never repay that gift in a million years, but I'm happy that for tonight at least we were able to show mom a small piece of how amazing she really is.

And as for my gift for the evening, I think it came the second I looked around the table (in the same beautiful dining room we sat in a year ago tonight in what would become my mother's official "welcome to New York" dinner) and saw old Colorado friends, new NY friends, my sister, and my mother enjoying an amazing meal worthy of a one year anniversary and a older-than-28 birthday. Because if I had to surmise this past year in one single word it would probably be "change." We have struggled to find our footing, to hold onto our optimism and our values, and to stay one step ahead of the disease that is slowly upending our lives. And we did it all only to come full circle -- back to love, back to celebration, and back to the simple sharing of an awesome meal and special day with friends.

The more things change, indeed.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. Happy Birthday Piper's mom!!!!! :)

  2. That was so beautifully written! I get teary-eyed every time I think about the sacrifices my mother has made to help keep me alive. It sounds like your mother is just as amazing!

  3. I love reading your blog! I hope your new lungs arrive STAT!

  4. Happy Birthday Mrs. B! I'm sure your daughter's eloquence is a fine reflection of your grace.

    Piper - still wishing, as I do every day, that your new lungs arrive soon! Many {{{hugs}}} to you both. ~Juliet

  5. Belated Birthday wishes, Kathleen! Sounds like a wonderful celebration.