My Birthday Present… A Gray Hair, Oy!
My mother’s family has the most amazing gene when it come to hair. No-one has a single gray hair…even in their 80’s. So Gavin recently started showing some gray but I was confident I would have the Pager family gene…until I looked in the mirror on my birthday. There it was the lonely gray hair…the sign of immortality.
When Meron was about four, he started understanding a sense of time and we had a discussion about Avraham and the olden days. He wanted to know if Sabba, my then 57 year old father, was born before or after Avraham. I realized to him that anyone with gray hair was simply very old.
Now, I don’t want to be seen as very old. In fact, for my 40th birthday (we are not their yet) I want Botox as a gift. Why do I fear being old so much? Why do I dread my birthday each year?
I know there is a whole beauty industry that profits from this fear. In contrast, the Torah celebrates old age and many of our forefathers and mothers lived extra ordinary long lives. When someone shared with me the traditional Jewish blessing, “May you live to 120,” I stopped in my tracks. Do I want live 80 plus more years? Even 40 plus more years? It made me wonder what the world will be like then.
It’s a custom on one’s birthday to give blessings. The gates of prayer are open on this day. My blessing to all us Immas is to wake up each day with the ability to reframe the world, to see things positively. To celebrate both small milestones and big ones with equal intensity. Each day, to take a step back and appreciate, truly appreciate, all our blessings.
Metroimmas, what’s your view on birthdays? Do you dread them or look forward to them? What ‘s the best birthday present you’ve ever received?
Originally published: December 21, 2010