Birthdays are funny things.

I got into the habit of treating mine like ‘New Years’ with resolutions and a celebration of a new start long before I knew that things like numerology are based in the date of your birth.

For years, I have taken the opportunity to set goals. To reflect. To review.

This has been one hell of a year to reflect on.

This was the first birthday with no call from my Mom.

I realized it has been 8 years since the last time I saw her on the actual day of my birthday. I can picture her living room. The dinner. I got a necklace with red stones that I never wear.

But I have it.

Since then, I’ve been celebrating with my ex-husband, or friends. Or living in Europe. Money for her was tight… So it usually was just a call. Two years ago, that fact that I got a birthday card in the mail from the mother of the man I was dating… But not my own mom…. Floored me. Wrecked me.

Last year… My Mom sent me a a sort of care-package. The first since I’d lived here. I had told my sister how much I miss Rice-a-roni Spanish style rice and, oddly, orzo pasta… Unattainable apparently here. Not even the fancy damn grocery store in Belgium… Land of the gastronomists!

So I arrived home and there was a box… Filled with dried pasta and rice and boxed dried-spices and ‘meals in a box’ stuff. I was so touched.

Now, a year later…. The Rice-a-roni is gone and I am left with a bag of orzo and a pesto pasta salad box.

The orzo I am saving for a salad for the summer. But the pesto salad box… As I pack up my place, I can’t bear to part with it. Even though I know I will probably never use it… I just don’t cook in that American way anymore… where you add water to some dried substance and… voilá! I now make my own pesto most of the time.

But it was the last thing she gave me.

I can’t bear to not take it.

Which brings me back to birthdays and goals and resolutions and reflection.

My goals for my personal new year…
– be emotional (not in te crazy sense. But I’ve spent too much time trying to be strong instead of being human)
– be at peace. Period.
– be open to love and loving
– be thankful and aware of what is truly important
– not care what others are thinking… Because one doesn’t know anyway!
– let go the things not worth crying over
– learn to make a soufflé worth crying over
– find joy

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