Monday, September 07, 2009
I'm forty-nine today. It hasn't been the most riotous birthday; I've been feeling really down for a couple of weeks now, so much so that I'm seeing my shrink tomorrow, almost a month early, to see if I can get my meds bumped up. I've never done that before, and I hate to do it now, but I need to function, and I'm falling farther and farther behind. The to-do list is really scary, in through here. It would also be nice to stop feeling completely inadequate in every aspect of my life. Intellectually, I know I'm not -- although my memory's been so bad that I've been spacing appointments and meetings -- but my neurotransmitters need some convincing.
Despite my lethargy, there were certainly some lovely birthday moments. I video-skyped with my sister and mother, who held up a candle and sang "Happy Birthday," and Gary gave me great presents: two knitting books I wanted (one on double knitting and one on mosaic knitting, although the projects they describe are currently beyond me), a PBS video following seven doctors through training and practice, and a large, hand-colored print of two elephants from a Walter Anderson design. Anderson's the artist from Ocean Springs whose work my father loved; Dad lived two blocks from the Walter Anderson Museum, and Liz and I both gave him Anderson posters to decorate his apartment down there. I have both of those now, but Gary decided we needed more Anderson artwork, so he ordered the elephants. One of Anderson's descendents printed the silksceen; they're an Ocean Springs dynasty.
A little while ago, I suddenly sat bolt upright, said, "Oh, my God!" and raced into Gary's study. "You gave me the elephants because of Dad, right?"
He looked at me like I'd grown two heads. "I gave them to you because I know your father liked Anderson, but I picked the elephants just because I liked the design. Why are elephants important?"
"Remember when I went down to Ocean Springs after Dad's quadruple bypass in 2001? I asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he said, 'A baby elephant,' so I got him all sorts of elephant stuff, remember?"
"Oh, yeah! The elephant bells hanging downstairs."
"And the elephant keychain. And the stuffed elephant in my study. And the elephant mug I sent Liz." Somewhere in the garage, there's also a watercolor of a grown elephant with a baby elephant.
"Huh," Gary said. "Well, I knew about the Anderson connection, but the elephants were just a lucky accident."
Accident or providence, the elephants comfort me. They feel like a Happy Birthday message from Dad, as well as from Gary.