It's my birthday today, and I am old enough that I really don't care to tell you the exact number. But I know I don't look any younger than I am, I am a woman at my own age, looking it. I have long been forbidden entrance to the stores where women my age can buy clothes more suitable for 14 year olds but in my size, the prohibition enforced by a strict "No, mom!" from kids no longer kids and much taller than me.
But I can still have wonderful birthdays, so this morning I was up real early and cleaned the bathroom and had a shower and did my hair nice and hurried back into bed to pretend to be asleep before the family came to wake me up. They pretended not to notice that I snuck past on the way back from the bathroom, and woke me up with a song. As lovely now as when they were 5 and 3.
Then we had breakfast, and they had set the table and made an omelet and collected a heap of presents. I got lots of silly stuff from my many loving family members, but the one that almost made me cry was a CD I had wanted to buy, but forgotten, and then my husband remembered, my daughter bought it and her girl friend packed it.
It was a memento mori. It was "Dans til musikken", written by a friend from our student days, and performed by different Norwegian artists as a homage - published the same day he died from cancer.
So, on the day celebrating my own my birth and life I danced the morning away with my husband and children, to the music of a dead friend, his music insisting on the dance.
And in China today is the festival of lanterns, a day celebrating freedom from strict regulations, love, matchmaking and, of course, a day with lanterns everywhere. Here in the darkness of February, while the winter holds us firmly in it's cold, dark grip, I like that thought. At the other side of the planet they celebrate my birthday with lights, lanterns, everywhere.
I hope they dance too.