The potato salad is made and sprinkled generously with paprika and the records and record player are wrapped. I am going to give Owen the records first to string the surprise out a little bit. The dishwasher is chugging merrily along and the chickens are talking about their eggs. Mr. Moon is on his way home and it is a beautiful day and soon I will get out my knife and cutting board and prepare the salad bar vegetables in bowls to cover and take.
What could be more delightful than having a sweet birthday party with family and friends for my first grandchild on a mild and lovely September day?
I woke up with the familiar stomach-roil and dread of anxiety.
I hate this. I hate it. A day that will be as simple and sweet as a day can be and instead of greeting it with appropriate anticipation, I am struck almost shaky with, well, if not dread than at least dread's younger, less lethal cousin.
It occurs to me that I have spent most of my life fighting or just falling into these feelings and that they have stolen so much joy from me. I used to think that it was all temporary. That at some point, these emotions would go the way of the dinosaur, leaving me to enjoy the simplest things that I deserve to enjoy, just as any human does. Now I realize that like the dinosaurs, my fears and anxiety and depression will not really ever depart even though they may grow much smaller and more manageable the way a chicken is far smaller and more manageable than a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
But I am quite sure that just as these things will always be with me, I will manage to get through them. I may need a nap before this day is over but I will be so glad to have gone, to have witnessed Owen's happiness at having a party and getting presents, to have seen my children and my grandchildren and friends. To be able to hold my husband's hand and look around at what our love has created.
But I tell you what- it is never, ever easy.
But that's the way it is.
And I would no more skip celebrating a grandchild's birthday than I would forget to breathe.
Pictures to follow.