"Small and cute
and full of fun,
All day long
you're on the run,
and learning, too—
proud of you!"
My husband, Michael, gave me a birthday card saying "A SPECIAL GIRL IS 5 TODAY!" and simply by adding an extra digit made it read "A SPECIAL GIRL IS 55 TODAY!" Michael also added earrings, red-high heels, and curly-hair to the cartoon figure on the front of the card to make it more closely resemble me, his wife of more than twenty years.
What impressed both of us, however, was the fact that the little ditty on the inside of the card, which I've included above, actually contains every single thing I have ever wanted to hear in my entire life.
That's sort of sad, and sort of funny, and sort of weird, and sort of entirely understandable for anyone who's ever opened a book on psychotherapy: OF COURSE I have searched and scrambled and longed for and wept over precisely what I didn't feel I got at age 5. OF COURSE the last 50 years have been spent in a quest to gain, own, retrieve or recover early feelings of basic and essential value.
I'm getting this thing framed.
I have no ideas where my diplomas from Dartmouth College or Cambridge University are; I couldn't tell you where to find the first editions of the eight books I've written or the 19 I've edited. But I am getting this birthday card framed and I am going to hang it on the wall so that I will always have it in front of me because IT—not the diplomas or the books—offers the kind of validation I want.