Saturday, April 16, 2016


I was four years old on April 16, 1969. I have no real memory of this birthday but I have Polaroid pictures. And I have a sense of happiness that was on that day. The pictures show a typical 1960s backyard birthday in Burleson, Texas with cousins, neighbors and friends and a Cinderella cake! I got a bicycle with streamers and a flower covered basket. The family story is that Granny bought me the bicycle against her daughter's (my mother) wishes - probably true. There are no pictures of my mother so I am assuming she was the photographer.
I am perched on the bicycle.
I am smiling and probably glad to have my cousin sitting on my left.
Opening my four year old birthday gifts on a sunny day.

I was five years old on April 16, 1970.
There are pictures from this day at the same house. It was an indoor birthday and some of the same faces appear in photos and new ones too. Real or imagined, I do not think of this day with joy. The photographer on this day was my stepmother. My mother was killed soon after my fourth birthday.
The yellow dress stands out on this fifth birthday.
And there are gifts.

I was 39 years old on April 16, 2004.
Oldest Son was four years old which is the same age I was on that last birthday with Cheryl Virginia (Bills) Henry, my mother. On this day in 2004, I felt gratitude sweep through me like a tidal wave. I realized, as a mother myself, how fortunate I was to have had my own mother and father for the first four years of my life. Four years of unconditional love in the late 1960s in a stable home had laid the foundation for confidence, security and resilience that I would draw on through many more birthdays.
Oldest Son turns four in 2004 with an North Pole themed pool party.

Today I am 51 years old on April 16, 2016.
I am a mother with sons who are 16 and 14 years old now. My husband is by my side and is my biggest fan. Commuter Husband and I are relatively healthy with some of the normal mid-life ailments. We are safe and secure. But I am unsettled. My brain races daily to figure out how the next half of my life should be defined. Hard Stop. There needs to be more, something more in my personal contribution to this world.

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