On My Birthday…


Today is my birthday. I’ve been dreading this one, but no more than the last one. I am closer now to 60 than ever before. I sometimes worry that I’m running out of time. Is that something other people worry about?

The picture here is me at 2 months old (according to my mother’s lovely script on the back). This is the closest I could find to a birth picture among all the family pictures of me. The next was 6 months. Interesting is the contrast to today’s world of constant pictures. Modern babies have been photographed and posted to social media many times over before taking their first actual breath. By the time they reach six months, their pictures have been taken so many times, I’m surprised most of their first word is not “cheese.”

I have photos of my own children, taken hours after their births in a hospital t-shirt, looking like little alien creatures. Perfect for the baby book, but really not all that sharable. I have pictures of my grandchildren, only minutes old still in the delivery room. Had I had the presence of mind during the birth of my youngest grandson, or any awareness of where my phone was at the time, I could have recorded him exiting my daughter’s body. Fortunately (she would have pummeled me), I just have shots of him being cleaned up shortly thereafter.

During my second day of hard labor with my first born, my mother told me she wasn’t aware of anything during her children’s’ births. Our own father was not present in the delivery room, much less siblings, in-laws, or besties. Mom said she simply woke up a few hours later a new mother. She did this five times. Maybe that explains the larger families back then. Mom didn’t understand why “this natural child birth” and the suffering of her daughter was considered better than the way she did it. At the time, I couldn’t understand it either. What could be better than going to sleep, then waking up with a baby? Nobody there taking close ups of your business, while you sweat, moan, and push another human out of you. Beats me.

Looking at this picture of me at two months old, I wonder what my birthday was like. Were people impressed with me? Was I particularly aware? Did I cry or was I quiet? How close to my due date did I arrive? Did Mom and Daddy see me as a blessing or another mouth to feed? I don’t know these things. But I do know some things.

On April 7, 1964, the most popular song was Cant Buy Me Love by the Beatles. IBM had just launched its System/360 model of “small” computer, which could perform 34,000 instructions per second, with a memory of up to 64 mb. Suffice it to say, it was not small enough to fit in one’s pocket. April 7, 1964 was a Tuesday which, according to the nursery rhyme, means I am full of grace. Oddly enough, most of my life I believed I had been born on a Wednesday. Maybe that’s how Mom remembered it. Maybe she didn’t wake up until Wednesday. But, since I thought I was a Wednesday’s child (full of woe) I was delighted to discover recently the real day of the week. Being full of grace is much better than being full of woe, right?

I was born under the star sign of Aries, and the Chinese Zodiac Dragon. My cardinal sign is Fire, and my ruling planet is Mars (war and ambition). My life path number is 4, according to one website (which indicates that I am practical, with strong ideas about right and wrong). My lucky number is 7 and, depending on whether you use the vowels of my name, or the day of my birth, my soul number is either a one or a three. My Eastern element is wood. My zodiac gemstone is the ruby, my mystical birthstone is the opal, and my modern birthstone is diamond. Ironically, I have neither, rubies, nor opals, nor any diamonds in my possession. The birthstone for Tuesday is also a ruby – until today I didn’t know the days of the week had birthstones. My birth flower is the Sweet Pea, but some say the flower for April is the daisy. The world population on April 7, 1964, was 3.2 billion people. I was one of one of 314,798 born that day, most of whom were named Lisa or Michael. I have lived 20,819 days and have slept for 19 years.

According to a website I landed on during this research, in my past life I was a male sea man, living in what is currently Ireland around 425 (in the time of St. Patrick). It went on to say that I was mysterious, highly gifted, and capable of understanding ancient books. Heck, maybe I was St. Patrick. If people do truly live more than one life, if our souls are indeed reused like cardboard boxes and bacon grease, maybe I’m not running out of time at all. Perhaps just this current body will wear out, but the person who is ME will make like a hermit crab and find another one in which to live.

Today I treated myself to two things. First, I purchased a rose quartz in homage to the Archangel Ariel (the guardian of nature, animals, and the environment – basically God’s Creation itself), with whom I strongly identify. Pink is her signature color.

Second, I drove to the courthouse during my lunch and filed a petition to change my last name from that of a man I was married to a long time ago, and back to the name given me to me when I was born. What difference does this make in the scheme of things? Not much, really. It just feels good to me; like a new beginning. According to W.C. Fields, it is not what they call you, it is what you answer to. After a two month wait, a hearing and all the exhaustive work changing things like my drivers license, passport, and email addresses, I will answer to the last name of White.

I am Beverly Diane White, and this is my birthday.

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