March 1, 2009

Happy Birthday

"So how's your daughter?" my brother asks, when I call to wish him Happy 50th birthday.

"We wait. We hope." I pause.

He's quiet.

"She's on the big drugs now," I say. "Beta blockers, ACE-inhibitors--those are for her heart--and a combo of antibiotics for her pneumonia and sinus infection." I hear his dog barking and a lot of noise in his kitchen. "But I didn't call to talk about her. Happy Birthday and many happy returns little brother."

He details the neighbors gathering for a festive cake-cutting last evening, and the three other families who'll be coming over today. He says he feels old, well at least, old-er.

"You know that saying?"

"What's that?" he asks.

"Not all young men will be old, but all old men were once young." He laughs at this oft-quoted saying of our father's.

Off the phone, I check my daughter's blog, where she has posted a new photo of her baby daughter, all dolled up in a lavender polka-dotted dress. With this baby came her illness. I focus on the child's expression, so sweet and young. It reminds me of my daughter's at that age--coy and knowing and challenging but oh, so engaging.


  1. What a beautiful slice: quiet and powerful. Thank you for sharing.