A Wish For Each Year.

1989 (christmas) mom & me
1989. 25 years ago

Today is Mom’s birthday.
This is the sixth time this particular notification has popped up on my laptop since she died.
I can’t bring myself to delete the entry on my calendar.
It’s been
5 years,
1 month, and
4 days
since she died.
That’s 1,860 days.

I’m fairly certain not a single one of those days has passed that I haven’t thought of her since she passed, even if it was just for a fleeting moment. More often than not I have something I want to tell her, or ask her, or share with her. Today she would have been 60. It’s weird to think that she’s been gone for five years. It might be even stranger to think that this year would have been a huge milestone. I wonder how we would have gotten on as adults, now that I’m settling into myself and figuring out what is really important to me.

So much has happened in the last 1,860 days. And since I can’t directly share this with her, I want to share five wishes, five things I wish I could have shared with her, one for each year she’s been gone.

1) I wanted to share France with her. Then Belgium, The Netherlands, England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Scotland, and Australia. I originally decided to keep this blog going so I could show her all the wonderful things around the world, things I knew that she would never be able to travel and see, but maybe if I saw them for her she could experience them too. Somewhere along the line I decided to just keep writing anyway.

2) Social media. Just before she had her first heart attack we were talking about getting her on Facebook. I think she would have loved it. I think she might have gotten Twitter, too. I know she would have loved the chance to talk with old friends more often and keep in touch with people who had moved away.

3) Music. These past few years I have grown increasingly engaged with music. I have so many bands and songs that have had an incredible impact on me. I feel like she would have enjoyed the music and the people behind it. And what I wouldn’t give to have been able to introduce her to Amanda Palmer, both her music and as a person/thinker/friend.

4) My writing. I’ll finish this novel one day. I’ll write more stories. I think the last creative piece she read of mine was a poem I wrote when I was 15.

5) Dance. I started dancing four years before she passed away but she never saw me dance outside our living room. She never saw me on stage. Since I’ve danced as a guest with Eugene Ballet Company three times. It’s the one thing I truly wish I could change.

Epic birthday accomplished

post show, minutes before midnight, the end of an epic birthday

The concert was amazing, I was first row and just left of center for the entire night (pictures soon). I kept running into new friends from the house parties and from twitter. Everyone was so excited and lovely. I hit the signing line and handed her my shirt to sign, she’s halfway through the massive queue and hasn’t looked up yet, but when she does she lights up, reaches across the table and grabs me in a hug thanking me for the letter I had given her the previous night and asking if I had a good time, a good birthday and saying she was glad her friend Mali and I got to hang out all afternoon. I ask for a photo but say I can stick around, so I spend the next bit talking with all my new Aussie friends, who knew I’d ever have a reason to come back to Brisbane :)

After the line died down I went over to Amanda for one last chat and a photo. Several hugs, thank yous and apparently what was ‘an adorable moment’ according to my friend Ellen later I walked out into the balmy night air. I don’t think I could have managed a better birthday if I’d planned any of this.

Birthday #27

Last night a rock star sang me happy birthday, fed me cake and gave me a kiss.

Last night was the second Brisbane house party with Amanda Palmer. Until the night before I didn’t even know there was a second party. Then Amanda asked if she could bring me along as a guest.

Amanda and I at SxSW last April.
Amanda and I at SxSW last April.

It was a simple kindness but it was also huge. It wasn’t something I asked her to do it was something she just did. I was talking with her friend Mali (who happens to be an awesome musician in her own right and is a guest at tonight’s show!) about how it all came about. And how, even though I’m a massive fan, I see Amanda as a person and not a celebrity. Throughout all of it she remains very human and grounded and kind and yet still has this big rock star persona and energy that is amazing to get caught up in.

Birthdays and holidays have been hard for me these last four years. Things just haven’t seemed right. But something in that small act of kindness, the passage of time, and the atmosphere that night shook up the feelings inside me rearranging them into something that made the idea of holidays easier. It was a catalyst. One I’m thankful for and don’t quite have the words to describe. I’ll never forget being introduced by Amanda Fucking Palmer to her friend because I was someone worth introducing or getting fed cake or given a birthday kiss. But really, I’ll never forget how alive it all made me feel like I’m running headfirst into life instead of away from it. That really, if I just ask, if I just try, anything might be possible.

Last night, lying awake in my bed, still soaking in the last hour, the last two days, the last five weeks, the last four years, I turned 27.