Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#236: Pennsy Looks at Fifty

They are the moments that changed everything.

The morning I decided to carpet my backyard swing set and wound up breaking both bones in my right arm.

The night I saw her breasts for the first time, creamy and translucent in the moonlight.

The day I stopped to watch some bass swimming in a pool in the creek at scout camp, not knowing that for the rest of my life, when I wanted to come to a peaceful place, I would return here.

The night my sister called to tell me that Dad was gone. The day before when his last words to me were, "God bless you."

The morning you gave me a scholarship to come be an actor at your college.

The afternoon you invited me to sing "God Bless America" with the band.

The day you showed me your face during my first communion.

Big moments

Nixon quit.

The Steelers won. And won. And won. And won.

The Towers fell.

Small moments.

You said you'd like to go out again.

To move in together.

To get married.

We said "I do."

And we did.

A lump on an x-ray. no bigger than a fist, a light bulb

"Cancerous," he said.

And it was.

And we fought for our life. Together.


Fifty is not such an achievement, I suppose. It's more of an attendance award. A birthday is the medal you get for sticking around. They all start running together. But the big ones, the new decade ones, they are worth noticing. Time to take stock. After all, the chances of having fifty more birthdays are pretty slim. It's worth noticing what's passed by during all those mornings and evenings. The things done and things left undone. Choices made and choices avoided.

I wish I had been braver.Worked harder. Not given up so easily.

But I'm glad I was strong enough to try. Stubborn enough to stick with a few things. In love enough to stay.

I'm glad I lived long enough to figure out how cool my mom is.

Long enough to forgive God. And myself.

Fifty more birthdays? Why not? It turns out, I'm a fighter with an awful lot of people in my corner. I had no idea.

Fifty more! Let's do it together! Let the lion roar...


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