I thought I would celebrate this birthday, which O’Ceallaigh kicked off yesterday in a spirit of fun and follies, by telling you a particularly charming story of a birthday past — my 40th.
The story doesn’t start all that charming. I received no birthday cards. No phone calls. No mention on the staff news. No greetings from co-workers. Worse, I’d looked in the mirror a bit too long and realized the primary color of my hair was gray (still is, under the blonde dye), wrinkles were starting to form at the corners of my eyes, and my life was over. Sob.
Off to work I shuffled. I was scheduled to be a sub that day for a kinder class. Most of the kinder kids knew me as, The Story Lady, because I visited their classroom once per week and I read to them some exciting this or that. They were thrilled to have me for a whole day. They brought me book after book and I read to them, but my performance must have lacked luster, because at just about lunchtime two of the tykes, Wesley and Kiki, toddled up to question me. I was sitting on the floor, so we ended up eye-to-eye.
Wesley asked, “Story Lady, why is yoos so sad?”
How do you explain something like that to a kid? I gave him an answer I thought he’d accept. “Because I’m old.”
He took my face is both his hands and studied it closely, then he frowned at me and pronounced, “Yoos not old. Yoos not got crinkles!”
Kiki added, “Asides, yoos has all your teefs!”