It's been a while.
It's been almost 48 years.
That's a lot of years and a lot of birthdays.
Actually, Prince (God bless him and grant him peace), believed he had only one birth day.
It's amazing to be alive at all. 15-25% of pregnancies do not survive. Alhumdulillah for those that didn't and alhumdulillah for those that did.
I've just been reading about baby traditions around the world. Celebration timings vary from the first week to the first tooth
In Bali, it is the 210th day that is special since only then is a baby let down onto his or her own feet. Mashahallah. Imagine the commitment the whole family makes to ensure that baby is always held.
So many babies don't make it to their first birthday. For every 1,000 babies born in the world, 6 die before they reach a year. Subhanallah.
Now, once again I need to remember that I have survived those perilous months-- many, many, MANY times over. I am blessed. Alhumdulillah.
To everyone who has said, "You don't look 47," I want to say, "Obviously, I must because I am and soon I will be 48. This is what 48 looks like."
Other birthdays have a cute nickname. There is the Golden Birthday when your new age matches the date you were born. There is Sweet Sixteen when you finally get kissed by Jake Ryan.
See Molly and Michael from 32 years ago ?
I went to summer camp with one of the extras who stands in the school bathroom with Anthony Michael Hall and John Cusack to admire undies. That young actor housed me secretly in his DePaul dorm room (completely platonically) in Chicago so I could audition for their drama program. I didn't get in. There are many times I didn't get what I wanted, and I'm grateful for all those disappointments ---at the time I wanted to disappear off the face of the earth. I didn't.
I'm still here.
I'm here, and I have made up a cute nickname for my 48th birthday. I got to thinking that 48 is really the number we think of as 48 hours---and then either the TV show or the Eddie Murphy movie.
It's the equivalent of two days. I wanted to make a connection between two days and my 48th birthday. What lasts two days?
I thought of the mayfly. That's a mayfly at the top of this post. I thought they were rather ugly until I saw this macro picture. The wings are disco-diva iridescent. While a mayfly doesn't get the same admiration as a butterfly---they aren't as "nice"---it truly is an amazing creation worthy of admiration (as it alllllllllllll is).
A mayfly isn't known for its longevity. Two days is the maximum. It is such a temporary creature that it hardly seems fair to kill it, even if it swarms in with hundreds of others. A mayfly belongs to the genus, or family name, of ephemera.
Ephemera, noun (from Greek emphemeros) things that exist or are used for only a short time.
However, there's another definition which states, "something of no lasting significance".
That's vastly different to me. I have accepted that I will not exist on this earth forever, but I do hope and pray that my life will have lasting significance. This is why I am a mother and a teacher.
There was this precious conversation I had on the school bus with my boy this week. We talked over the connection between Rip Van Winkle and Ramadan. Washington Irving's story is actually Surah Al Kahf in American trappings and Ramadan is the month we can chose to be like Rip, mindlessly idle, or like Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) fully engaged in a daily betterment program. I tried to impart 7:20 AM wisdom. Did he "get" it?
"So, " El-Kid, at age 10, questioned, "if I listen to you and do a good job with my life, then you will get good sins?"
"Deeds not sins, " I corrected. He apparently was also feeling the 7:20 AM. "What's really great is that, even after I'm no longer alive, I can collect good deeds if you help other people learn any of the good I've taught you---and taught the kids at school. Subhanallah, right?"
I am here for a short time, but I am determined to make it significant.
Therefore, I will look at my transformation into a 48-year-old as my Mayfly Birthday. Yes, I know that it sounds nasty to name a celebration after a bug, but keep in mind that both halves of that compound word have double meanings. May can be the month in spring or it can be a modal verb meaning "possibility". Fly can be the noun, the insect, or the verb, meaning to travel through the air. That idea of possibly sailing from where I am through the atmosphere to another higher level is another reason to have a May-fly Birthday.
What makes it even more important to me this year is that this is the first time in 30 years that my birthday will be in Ramadan.
The lunar or Islamic/Hijri calendar takes 30 years to move around the solar or Christian/Gregorian calendar. I haven't had my birthday in Ramadan since I was turning 18.
In 1986, when I was 18, I didn't have any idea that I would be a Muslim teacher in Egypt. If you had told me that, I would have laughed. I was going to be an actress. 18 is a turning point. It is adulthood when you have to make real choices for your future (not just on an Armenian table top). It seems that making the wrong choice will flip your world upside-down from which you will never recover.
My eldest son is 21, graduating university this month, alhumdulliah, and feeling that his next step must be a good one---no, a great one! "One small step for man..." and all that.
At almost 48, I can testify that I have goofed up, flubbed up, and screwed up a multitude of times to the nth degree, yet through the Grace of God my life is exactly what it was always meant to be. Alhumdulillah. It doesn't mean that I'm always happy about it, or that I can easily accept what I'm given with gratitude. No, I get caught in stinkin' thinkin'.
This year has had a lot of that and I am sorry that I wasted time.
For the year ahead, which starts with a month of fasting, I will inshahallah re-focus on....
This blog is in need of an overhaul. I will be making sure over the summer that it still an accurate extension of who I am and who I want to be (not just who I was). If you are a reader of this blog, like Shafaq and Deanna, then thank you for being here. I am sorry that I haven't been here.
Just as I only take photos when I'm happy, I only blog when I have something to say---at least more than 140 characters on Twitter. I haven't been here because I didn't know what made enough sense to anyone else. Hopefully, there will be something that speaks to you----if it does, then that's from Allah; if it doesn't, that's from me.
Love and Light!