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The Ides of March

Not the new movie with Ryan Gosling. I was thinking of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Caesar:
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry “Caesar!” Speak, Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer:
Beware the ides of March.

Caesar:
What man is that?

Brutus:
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Nothing quite so dire in our family.  But March is the month of birthdays for us.  My mom and Jonathon share the same birthday – March 13, as well as Jonathon’s older brother, Jonathon’s senior by 2 years.  And I  have a couple of friends up here in Shelton who also have that birthday. Patty, my stepmom, has a birthday March 18.

Tis a puzzlement.

We hosted a family birthday party here last night. with Carter and his family. We ate cake and ice cream, talked and laughed and played pass-the-baby with Isaac. The kids played together and the adults yakked. The fireplace took the edge off the chill while the cats hid in the basement.

That was a good time.  How do I made sure my family and friends feel the love today?  I feel my finiteness very acutely at this point. My mom turns 74 today.  My husband is now 41.  Matt is now 43.  It’s a busy day.

That aside, I appreciate my mom so much.  She taught me the beauty of music, art and dance.  She dragged Carter and I to her concerts with the Portland Symphonic Choir while she performed.  She sang in our church choir at the Episcopal church.  Still does.  She made me understand that the arts matter, and doing them to the best of your abilities, pursuing excellence in them, is a noble thing whether or not you ever make a dime doing it. Her sense of humor is the reason I have mine.  She taught me to not take myself too seriously and to give people grace. My dad is funny, yes, but I definitely laugh at the same things Mom does.  We have similar tastes in books – period mysteries among them.  We differ politically but any mercy or compassion I have I’ve learned from watching her in action. 

Jonathon.  Where do I start?  He’s the smartest man I know.  He is able to break down the most complex concepts and teach them to children, or adults who think like them.  He’s funny and an amazing musician.  He is able to take a verbal description of something or a crude drawing and build it.  He is able to make or fix just about anything.  He has refaced half the cabinets in our kitchen since he’s been out of work.  He’s a great shopper, too. He can take $100 and come home with 10 or more items of clothing.  He is teaching our kids a lot of the “whys” of life.  He is affectionate and kind.  He’s handsome, too, especially with the beard he’s grown.  Helloo, (almost) Dr. Isham!

I don’t have a lot of time to write this, due to an activity-packed day with them. I feel a bit squeezed today to be all things to these great people in my life.  But it’s worth it.  I think the best gift I can give them is just to be present in whatever we do together. They’re worth it.  I thank God for them every day, and the annual almost-Ides of March.

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