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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy birthday to me!

Tomorrow, December 21, is my birthday.  Yes, I’m one of those Christmas babies the world always pities so. When it comes to public sympathy, being born on or near Christmas seems to rival the dreaded February 29 birth date. (I have a grand-niece who missed that by a couple of hours, sneaking in a bit before midnight on the 28th during our last Leap Year.)

Though others may lament it on my behalf, I have never minded the Christmas-time date. My parents always made sure to keep the two celebrations separate. My birthday present, though it might appear beneath the tree, was never wrapped in Christmas paper and was always just as nice as the gifts given to any of my non-Christmas siblings. Like them, I got to choose my favorite meal for dinner. (I didn’t make it too tough on Mom; for years, my favorite was spaghetti.)

As I got older and more aware of the Christmas hype all over the world, I began to feel that everyone in Christendom was celebrating with me. Though that view may be a bit egocentric, it always kept my birthday happy, and I loved that my dad liked to call me his Christmas present. The first-born child, I came home from the hospital on Christmas day—a few long decades ago.

That brings me to the real angst of tomorrow. I will be 64. Yikes! 

I want to ask the cosmos, “How did this happen? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was a carefree girl? A happy new bride? A new mom? A first-time grandmother? Though the girl inside me doesn’t feel much different, the body is definitely letting me know it’s been around the block a time or two. 

My brand new left knee (replacement on Nov. 19) is still making peace with the rest of me. One day I hope to lope up the stairs again (there are five in front of my house) without the aid of a cane or a strong man (thank goodness I have one!) to help pull me up. 

Now my other joints are behaving as if they’re jealous of the new knee and my muscles all wear out quickly whenever I dare to exercise. Oh yes, this body is definitely feeling its wear.

Not only that, but my oldest grandson, Austin, has just announced he’s found the lovely young lady he’s going to marry next May 29. Within the next five years, I could be a GREAT-grandmother. Double yikes.

Of course there are compensations. For instance, there are the darling grandchildren, from Austin down to Josh and Evie, born to two different families six days apart and now eight months old. And their newest little cousin is due next March. I wouldn’t trade one of them, not even to have my 23-year-old body back.

Although I’m tempted to ask as the Fab Four did, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me?” I know the most important person in my life (my dear husband, that “strong man” I wrote about earlier) certainly will. He’s been an ideal nurse during the month since my knee surgery. Not only that, he owes me: He turned 64 last July.

While I may well mourn the passing of the good health I once knew, the body that did what I asked of it whenever I asked, the quick responses and ready ability, I count up the experiences, the joys, the successes, the wonderful people in my life and know the years have been worth it. Given the chance to be 23 again, I’d have to say “no thanks.” I love being right where I am.

[NOTE: If you don’t recognize the Fab Four or the lyrics, please go look them up. Some things even young folks should know!]

Susan Aylworth is the author of 13 published novels. Her lucky 13th, EASTWARD TO ZION, is available now. Her recent release, MAGGIE RISING: Adventures of a Part-Time Psychic, has just come out in paperback as well as e-book. Mother to seven, she is "gramma" to 23. She lives in northern California with Roger, her husband of 44 years, and the two spoiled cats they serve. She loves notes from readers. Write her at, or @SusanAylworth. You can also follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.