Anniversaries and Birthdays


party_eWe visited my husband’s parents down in Rockford, IL, for an early celebration of my birthday. So, as I sit down to write, I am thinking a lot about birthdays and anniversaries of major life events.

Cheese Grits, my newspaper column and the seed for this blog, first appeared in my local newspaper on February 7, 2008, so for nearly five years I have been sharing random stories and thoughts with you. Five years is a fairly significant anniversary. For children, five is a big birthday, representing a move from toddler to young child, and quite often from day care to kindergarten. For wedded couples, the traditional gift of wood is given to celebrate the strength of the marriage bond that has grown over the first five years of life together.

I started Cheese Grits with mixed emotions. Six years ago, on the day after my birthday, my mother passed away. That’s not such a pleasant anniversary, and I still miss my mom. I will always miss her. The loss of a loved one who is that dear is not something you ever get over; you get through it and live beyond it, but it changes you irrevocably, just as any other major life event does—from falling head-over-heels in love with the someone or having a child.

However, even grief that deep can have a silver lining, and the grief that I experienced at the loss of my mom opened up a flood gate of writing—much of which had been simmering in private journals that I have kept since I was a little girl. Although I had published much as a scientist and a scientific writer, I had not published any personal works, until I wrote about the loss of my mother. She would have enjoyed Cheese Grits, especially reading about the antics of her granddaughter.

My birthday this year is remarkable because it is unremarkable: it is one of those numbers that people rarely think about. Many people my age decide not to celebrate birthdays, but I don’t subscribe to that philosophy. I think birthdays should be celebrated at every age. My birthday is my day. It’s a day to celebrate the joy of being alive, to celebrate being me. I am fortunate to have married into a family that shares my delight with birthdays. My mother-in-law always makes sure that everyone has a special cake for birthdays. There are always presents to unwrap and some kind of family get together. I love that about my in laws.

So, after 260 original columns where will I take Cheese Grits and this blog next as they grow up? I don’t know, a lot will depend on where life takes me, but if you are up for it, you are welcome to come along for the ride. As the column matures, so does my daughter, and I suspect I’ll need to be a little more discrete when I write about her. Perhaps the next year will bring some opportunities for me interact with my audience; maybe we can even add a little serial fiction.

I don’t know what the future holds, but the potential is incredible. My pen is at the ready, and hopefully my muse and my audience will stick with me for another five years.

But right now? It’s time to have another piece of birthday cake!

©2013 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “Anniversaries and Birthdays

    1. Hi Linda,
      Yes I’ve toyed with the idea. I have to figure out how to tie the posts together, and they will need some editing. Eventually it will happen, but it is a big project and I will need to work with an editor. I am too close to my own writing, I think.
      Michele

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