Today’s my birthday.
I’m 45, if I’m figuring correctly. Something like that. And I’m feeling my mortality, not because I really care how many years I’ve been alive, or even how many more I have left. I’m feeling mortal because my world is bashed in like an old box that holds some of your favorite things but fell off the moving truck on the highway.
The overwhelmingly most important thing about my birthday is this: I’m not spending it with my son.
This is, literally, my own fault, because my ex offered to swap days this week to accommodate my birthday, and I declined. I’m planning to celebrate with him when he’s back in a few days, and I really don’t care much when the day is celebrated, just that I get to celebrate with him.
So, then why is the fact that he’s not here today the “overwhelmingly most important thing?”
Simply because life has brought me to this point, at all. There used to be no question about whether I’d get to be with my kid on my birthday, or his, or Christmas, or Saturday. Now, it’s an issue to be decided, to be bartered with, to dwell on.
So, really, the important thing isn’t that he’s not here on my birthday…it’s that he’s not here.
Add to that the Damoclesean blade hanging overhead that is the custody fight, and my ex’s stance that she should have him 75% of the time, and the dreary fact that instead of doing something enjoyable today, on my birthday, which I’m not going to spend with my son, I’m being forced to do legal discovery paperwork to defend the time I do still have with him (and defend his desire and right to have equal relationships with his parents)…and I sort of feel too soul weary to give much of a damn that I was born on any particular day a lifetime ago.