Lucky Birthday

Last week I had a birthday. It was very enjoyable, as it always is when people say nice things to you and wish you good health even though your health is already pretty good. Also, because fiestas are an important part of the culture here, people are all about getting you cake, going out for dinner with all the other people you know, and buying you flowers.

I used to be obsessed with my birthday and reminded all my friends, colleagues, and passing strangers about it. But that was before I cared whether people would then ask me how old I was. It was also before I looked in the mirror and wondered what I did before under-eye concealer. And it was also before I considered a good Saturday night to be when I didn’t fall asleep in the middle of a brand new Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Since you are asking, I have turned forty-four. A sign that I am aging is that I thought I was turning forty-three for several weeks until was gently reminded by a “friend” that 1973 plus 43 is actually 2016. I was told in that same conversation that forty-four is lucky because it’s a double number. Considering that I lost an entire year of my life in a matter of seconds, it didn’t feel very lucky.

But I hope that she is right. I hope she’s a luck guru and she decided that I was in need of a bit of her expertise at that moment. I hope, as well, that this year is my lucky year in that my house mortgage is magically paid off.  If it is my lucky year, you are bound to notice that:

  • Every day at school my students will sit in a circle at carpet time and not ask me when is recess or snack time.
  • Also they will use Kleenex for their personal needs instead of my t-shirt.
  • I will start my car every day this summer, dripping with sweat, and not have the A/C refuse to come on.
  • They will invent an eye pencil that really is sweat-resistant.
  • Or, eye pencil worn on the cheek bone will become highly fashionable.
  • Anti-perspirant will start working in the tropics.
  • My son will suddenly really care about fractions and also help his sister with her math homework every afternoon.
  • My daughter will remember her daily reading by herself and will write it in her reading log without my knowledge and will become a professional parental signature forger.
  • Scratch the above item if you are one of her teachers.
  • The pineapple growing on my patio will be ready for me to eat before the guy down the street sees it and cuts it off the plant at 3am (although I almost feel sorry for him, because he’s clearly passionate about pineapple).
  • Cuates y Cuetes will always have a table beside the beach for our family, even at 2pm on a Sunday in January.
  • The sunset will be amazing only when I have my camera and only when I’m walking on the malecon
  • All the avocados I buy will be ready as soon as I’m hungry for guacamole.

As soon as I got home from work on my birthday, I arrived to a house full of flowers, tiramisu, and an outrageously large set of balloons bobbing around in the shape of, you guessed it, the number forty-four. My husband was so pleased with himself that I didn’t even frown. I decided it was a sign that my luck was already kicking in and it was using my husband’s sense of drama remind me.

Well, I’m off to enjoy a brand new year as a forty-four year old. There may be no need to wish me luck, but go ahead and do it anyway. I have a feeling I may need it.

column, 44


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