First thought is of my daddy, who chose to love me when I am not his biologically and he loved me equally well to my two sibs who are his naturally.
Second thought is my first husband, also actually my first boyfriend of any substance.
Third thought is my first child, daughter Erin, so perfectly loving from hairless head to the tip of her toes with nails so delicate they gently bend.
Fourth thought is Gregory, my first soul mate, even though being my fourth husband.
Fifth thought is this years birthday, first hug spontaneously given, long and firm as a boa constrictor with only the intent to love: by my first granddaughter, Denali, now 21. After I served brunch to 9 family members and my first true best friend, Gayle, Denali came up to me in the kitchen, wrapped her arms solidly around my body with the spirit of my daddy come back from the dead; he couldn’t, and I wouldn’t, allow affection, due to our fears.
Today is my birthday, the 30th, (day of august that is), and I am at the International Primal Convention, at the mornings women’s circle, where authenticity of feelings is first place. I am wearing the dress that my second daughter, Megan, bought me for my birthday, after I tried it on at Mama Goose’s, a second hand store for children (new to have a small rack for women) where I am buying clothes for my youngest granddaughters Riley and Emily. The dress is white with huge, and I mean HUGe red cherries on it, the size of grapefruits. I tell others when they compliment my dress, ‘I am the cherry on top’, today!
When I speak to these 16 women, I tell them how greatfull I am for our primal family where I can be truly vulnerable, feeling safely accepted for expressions of my feelings: whether anger, fear or sadness. Although my own two daughters, now 43 and 40, are accepting of my tears; they are not ready to freely share theirs…as does Karuna, being 42, who dances with me at the Friday night Cabaret, a spontaneous, never rehearsed, dance to the song: The Best of my Love by the Emotions. I tell Karuna that she can be my third daughter. She agrees.
Lastly, I say, “I love you all, and most of all I love myself.”
I am stunned that those words flew out of my mouth! I have never said ‘most of all I love myself!’ Inwardly or outwardly.
In the center of the women’s circle, there is a table where we place a significant item that belongs to each of us. I had placed my divorced-fourth-husband wedding ring there. It is too beautifull to be hidden in a drawer. Many years after divorcing, I also wear my first and second husband’s wedding rings…I can’t find the third-husband wedding band.
Maybe fifteen minutes into my drive home, I notice that my left ring finger is bare. The diamond and rainbow stones are missing. I refuse to return. I have birthday plans back home. I tell myself I don’t need to be attached to things as I, for the first time love myself in the most free way known up to this 68th birthday. I sense the ring will come back to me.
Found, like me, telling others, “I am married to mySELF,” when someone sees the assumed wedding ring on my left hand and asks, “Are you married?”
Found, like the love of mySELF as a baby (love lost while growing up) being profoundly returned on this birthday.
After 3 hours of driving, I am near home when I come upon a HUGe turtle cracked open in the middle of the road. I am dismayed and park my car on the side of the road. I must remove the turtle before it is smashed again. I gently touch it’s neck with my finger, and am surprised that its mouth opens, that it is still alive, even as its intestines are exposed on the pavement.
Across the road is a man on his mower. I borrow his shovel. When I push this magnificent creature, he snaps at me. I say out loud, “You don’t deserve to be hurt like this, so I am giving you some dignity in your death.” As he lays in the grass, tears pour down my face like they do now. I say “I am so sorry! May you know that someone loves you as you rest in peace.” It is what I would have liked to have said to my father, my daddy, when he was alive.
Addendum: I was about ten years old when my daddy stopped our car on Judd Falls Road in Ithaca, NY to safely usher a turtle across the road. (tears)