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Michiana Chronicles writers bring portraits of our life and times to the 88.1 WVPE airwaves every Friday at 7:45 am during Morning Edition and over the noon hour at 12:30 pm during Here and Now. Michiana Chronicles was first broadcast in October 2001. Contact the writers through their individual e-mails and thanks for listening!

Birthday Month

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Heather Curlee-Novak
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Have you heard? It is my BIRTHDAY! Well really it is my birthday month, or it was anyway. Still is, if I haven’t gotten cake with you on the calendar yet! After becoming a mama, I moved my traditional Birthday Week into a Birthday Month because…KIDS. As a parent, my needs are often overlooked in lieu of raising awesome young people. I kind of have to get an appointment with my own Dad to not have our conversation overruled by the epic cuteness of my two daughters. But, the more birthdays I have, the more furtive I feel about them, not the “ME! ME! ME!” of it, but the…number of it.

 
I told my husband years ago that after hitting a certain age and feeling literally and figuratively “Old”
that I was going to start fibbing my age. He said “You don’t lie about anything else in your life, why on
earth would you do that?” I said it just made me feel old when I saw a certain range of numbers.
I wanted to feel fabulous….and so instead of my age I opt to say “Fabulous” when asked my age. Now that I have watched the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I’m changing my reply this year to “Marvelous”. “How old are you?” and I say “Marvelous, thank you!”
 
 
 
This year, in step with not acting my age, I’ve had a five year old’s birthday theme: UNICORNS. I

appreciate the beauty and silliness and whimsy of unicorns like everyone else in America, apparently.
I think we all want and need to avoid reality. Unicorn and mermaid themed stuff is everywhere, and
my darling friends and family made sure I got most of it. From glittery Unicorn Dust, a rainbow water
bottle and a coffee mug….I am magical as can be. My own perfectly reasonable hubby got me a pink
sparkly unicorn poncho just to make me laugh.
 
 
 
I think one of the best ways to feel young is to remain interested in small simple things. Being silly

and inviting others to join into the playful with me spreads my sense of joy. I am not afraid to look
foolish; I revel in it. Putting down the burden of worrying about what others will think makes my days
a lot happier. (No one actually thinks that much about me, anyway.) It is freeing to just be who I’d
like to be.
 
 
 
There is one gift I received, from several people this year that I love, but also fear: Dish Towels. Dish

towels? Oh sure, they are lovely and witty and funny and creative….but….they belie my true age.
They admit for me that I have everything I want and need. That I have in most ways “Come of age”.
The towels started before my birthday.“I Love Jesus, but I Cuss a Little” came first, from my mother in
Love. She said it was so funny she couldn’t wait until my birthday to give it to me. Spot on. Then the
hot pink one from another friend said ”Sometimes I just want God to say ‘YO! I like You Best’.” Later
I got a white towel with a pig outline and it said “Praise the Lard”, because I like bacon more than a
little bit. Then “I don’t have my ducks in a row, I have squirrels, and they are DRUNK!” on a
reasonable grey/beige “greige” background. The last one, so far, was “PMS=Pass the Merlot, Sister!”
 
 
 
It is true that I need new dishtowels. Half of the ones I own are from when I married John twelve

years ago. It is great to add some humor into my kitchen. But. I am at some unwritten age, some
matronly place where I do not need anything else and where the witty dishtowel is to be expected. I
am embracing this linen filled moment. I am grateful to add another year to my life and amused at the
generosity and creativity of the people I adore around me.
 
 
 
I guess the only thing that can be done is to get down off of this unicorn and wash some dishes.

 
 
 
Music: "Birthday" by The Beatles

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