When I was younger, one of the weighty philosophical questions that would come up in late-night
conversations was “Why am I here?” And at a certain point, my answer simply became “Because my parents had sex.” Some thought it was funny, others thought it flippant. None found it satisfactory. But even now, I stand by it. It is why I’m here. Any purpose or meaning my life might hold will be my own doing.
Today is my birthday. (Or as a favorite teacher once insisted, it’s the anniversary of my birth; we each get only one birthday. Unless you believe in rebirth. But now that’s two levels of digression . . .)
In any case, I called my mom to say thanks, as I’ve done for the last several years, and she still finds it funny.
This may have started with something one of my first bosses said to me: “No matter how long you live, no matter what you do, you can never repay your mother.”
He didn’t say anything else worth remembering, but that gem was enough. And this thought eventually gave rise to the idea that on our birthdays, we should really be celebrating our mothers. (Which is not to diminish the importance of fathers. But do I really need to detail the miraculous morphing moms endure (to say nothing of the pain) to bring another person into the world?)
Maybe it’s also the proximity of my birthday to Mother’s Day. No matter. As far as I’m concerned, every birthday is Mother’s Day.
I love you, Mom. And I love being here.