March 20th, 2021
“You say it’s your birthday
It’s my birthday too, yeah
They say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time
I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you” – Beatles
I am sixty-three today.
I don’t know. Except for the fact that today is the vernal equinox, this date means very little. All I know is that at this moment the eastern sky is glowing red, and my little grandson, Asher, is sleeping nosily next to me. I look forward to the dawn, and Asher looks forward to his next feeding (he is three months old).
I’m sixty-three today. That is not a winning number. Sixty-two is a good number. That is when I qualified for Social Security. More to the point, when I qualified for it, my wife, Karin, also qualified for her Social Security check and for Medicare. Karin never worked long enough to get Social Security on her own. The Byzantine regulations of the SSA required me to get my dues before Karin could get anything. In any case, age sixty-two made a financial difference. Sixty-three does not.
God, our lives have changed in the course of a year. A year ago, Karin and I were thinking about traveling, at least to Texas to visit our family there.
We are not going anywhere.
Asher, for a variety of reasons, is now our responsibility. This kid is ours. If and when the girl we love gets though rehab, then maybe, maybe, she can care for the boy. Until then, Asher is our baby. And we love him. So much.
Years ago, I was part of a German men’s group, Schlaraffia. It was a standard men’s organization. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the primary purpose of the group was to get away from the wives for one night a month. Need I say more?
Karin spends part of her Thursdays in Zoom meetings with her knitting friends. I keep away from that. A few of the older women in her group are widows. I sometimes think that their husbands aren’t really dead; they are just in hiding. These guys maybe changed their names and moved to Belize to avoid the nagging.
Karin and I are both retired. “Retired” can mean a lot of things. It can mean that a person has moved on to another part of life, or it can mean that a person has simply given up on life. I have seen both things happen. Karin and I have not given up on life, perhaps because we can’t. We have too many people who need us. That is not necessarily a bad thing.
So, what to do on my birthday? Well, change and feed Asher. Maybe make Karin breakfast. Take a well-served nap (I’ve been up since 3:00 AM). Whatever.