Lunch With My Birthday Girl

I sit on the couch with a soft throw over my legs typing, occasionally listening for Ivy in the other room. When that cat isn’t in view, you have to wonder what she’s doing.

Soon I will have lunch with my daughter.

It’s not hard to locate Ivy if you want to know where she is. Just knock a pen or some other object to the floor and she comes flying into the room, ready for battle.

Soon I will be able to open the front door to let the sun in. But right now the sun is so strong beaming into my living room that it is blinding.

mason jars on hutch

Charlie has had an upset tummy the past couple of days. I’m wondering if it’s all the meds he’s been put on. At least he rarely coughs.

I have a call in to the vet, though I probably won’t hear from him until evening. He is the only vet there and they tell me he never even stops to eat.

Charlie kept going outside yesterday and trying to eat the frozen leaves of the pineapple sage, which usually calms his stomach.

Swan lake

Today is my baby girl’s 40th birthday. Forty years ago I was 21 years old, about to have a C-section to deliver my second child.

It was early in the morning, around 8 a.m. that surgery was scheduled to begin. At least with this delivery there was no emergency.

With my first one I was 17, had pre-eclampsia, and was rushed into surgery on Thanksgiving Day of 1974.

Woodward park

Fast forward to now. She is all grown up now. I can still picture her in pigtails.

She excelled at school and sports. She has a Master’s degree and a great career.

She has been married for 16 and a half years to the boy she fell in love with in her early twenties.

And of course now there is four year old Andrew.

Woodward park

She chose the restaurant for mom to take her to lunch. We do that on our birthdays.

I am so proud of her. Of her compassion and dedication. Her education and her ability to deal with numbers and problems and equations. Which just boggle my mind.

If I had to deal with numbers all day I think I would sign myself into the loony bin. I like words.

My daughter likes numbers because, she’s told me, the answer is always the same. Numbers don’t lie. There is no ambiguity.

I can understand that. But I’d rather deal with words any day of the week. I like to compose with them and have them frame my thoughts.

Female cardinal in my jade tree

I like the ability to choose from a plethora of possible words, all similar, to find just the right one. The one that seems to speak to me and whispers: This is the one. This is the word that fits best.

I like puzzles. I like figuring out where things go. Writing is a puzzle of sorts.

You have an idea, but then you must map it out on paper or computer. You tell your story with words.

Oftentimes I have an end first, then a beginning, then I fill in the rest. Everyone has their own way of writing.

With numbers there is a definite answer, an obvious solution. It is black and white.

Swan lake

I don’t deal well with gray areas in my life except when I’m writing. With writing you have metaphors and euphemisms and analogies. You can pick and choose what best suits your thoughts.

On the other hand, as someone with Asperger’s, the way I deal with the world is more black and white. Gray areas confuse me. There is a right and a wrong. There is the truth and a lie.

We often get into trouble socially because someone will ask us a question and they really don’t want to know the true answer. A lie will make them feel better.

But a lie sits on my tongue and does not taste right. It is a bitter taste and I am loathe to tell the lie they seem to want to hear.

Cone flower

I don’t understand why someone would ask a question they don’t really want the answer to. I don’t get the point.

But then again, I am extremely sensitive to some situations. It’s like I can feel what’s in the air. I don’t need to see it.

I recall once I was helping a handy man, who I knew fairly well and was a little bit younger than I was, take down wallpaper in my home.

I hate to sit down and watch someone doing something for me unless it’s something I have no knowledge of.

Swan lake

Anyway, we were stripping the wallpaper. And suddenly out of nowhere I said: “Who hurt you?”

He had been working for us on various jobs for about a year. Building fences, taking down walls. Putting down floors.

There was this strange thick silence. The kind you could slice with a knife.

Finally he said: “How did you know?”

Vintage Mason jars

He didn’t look at me. I didn’t look at him. It feels odd to look into someone’s eyes.

“I just felt it,” I told him.

And then he began to share his childhood with me. His pain.

It came to me out of nowhere, this knowledge that there was something haunting him.

Some think that people on the autism spectrum don’t feel empathy. Actually I think some feel too much. Thus being able to decipher the energy in a room.

We aren’t bound by the social niceties and cut to the chase. So maybe if you aren’t aware of and bound to some things, your mind is free to pick up on deeper things.

Well, I don’t know how on earth I got on this topic. But I need to get ready to meet my baby girl for lunch to celebrate her 40th birthday. She’s in the mood for Chinese food.



  1. Happy big four-oh to your “baby”! I hope you had a wonderful lunch together.

    I feel the energy of other people, too. I am not on the spectrum, but I am a Highly Sensitive Person and perhaps a bit of an empath.

  2. Brenda, I hope you and your daughter had a wonderful birthday lunch together! I also like numbers for the same reason…they don’t lie. Sometimes we don’t like what they tell us, but the answer is always the same…the truth! Love and hugs!

  3. Hi, Brenda. Happy birth day to you and Happy Birthday to your daughter. She sounds like a very special person and a daughter anyone would be proud of.

    Daughters. I have two daughters seven years apart. They are like two only children in a way. The older one and I get on very well. She is affectionate and caring and always ready to be helpful. I live with the younger one who has the twin boys. It’s very hard because she’s very critical and vocal about things that I either do or don’t do the way she thinks they should be done and is often very disrespectful. We have quite bitter and divisive interactions fairly often. One topic is her view of how I relate to the little boys. And I dislike the way she relates to them because it seems very harsh to me, but I try not to say how I feel. She doesn’t let anything slide, if you know what I mean. If I could figure out a way to afford it I would move although I really would hate leaving my house and neighborhood where I’ve lived for thirty years. Tonight I feel sad and rejected and criticised to the point that I just want out of the situation. Except that I love my grandsons and don’t want to leave them. I feel very stuck most of the time. Well, that’s my sob story for today. Some days aren’t that bad, but the ones that are, like today, nearly do me in.

    Your story about your intuition about your handyman having been hurt is quite amazing. I sometimes have that sense about someone, but it’s usually someone I have known for a while or whose family I know something about. I think we all are somewhat intuitive if we allow ourselves to tune in to our inner knowing.

    Your photos today are beautiful. I especially like the one of the blue jars under the “farmhouse” sign. I enjoyed reading your post today.

    Hugs to you and pats to the fourleggeds.

    1. Naomi, Don’t even think of moving out of your house! Set your daughter down and tell her exactly how you feel and tell her that she needs to be respectful of you! You are doing her a favor helping her out with her kids! If you think there will be a shouting match, then ask ur other daughter to be there too. You need to worry about ur health and all that negativity is certainly not good for either of you or the kids!

      I have a daughter like that and I told her I have an opinion, I will speak it! Also let her know that this is my house and if I want something changed around I will do it myself! When she gets a place, then she can do what she wants. It’s called tough love! She moved eventually, and she always comes back to visit and is more understanding…respectful. It’s hard, but you need to put her in her place!
      Best of luck!
      Happy Thanksgiving! J x

  4. Your story is about the interaction with the handy man is fascinating. FASCINATING (caps for emphasis, not shouting).

    Happy birthday to you! As the mom, you did lots of work to make this day for your beloved daughter. My mom and I exchange “thank you, no no thank you’s” on my birthday. I couldn’t have done it without her!

  5. Your way with words is that of a story teller, telling a story that I for one, always enjoy, and hate when the story ends. I always want more, and you always deliver, each and every day. You can tell the stories, which are always true to life, with words you know how to put together, like a poet does some times. I have thought from the first time reading your blog, that you should write a book…
    Happy Birthday to your daughter, sounds like a fun day out and about. And with the sun shining (we have had none here for so long) it will be bright and cheerful to go along with the Birthday…

  6. Very interesting post today! Happy birthday to your daughter. I am happy for you since you get to spend time with her and her husband and of course amazing Andrew. I, too, admire your daughter’s ability to work with numbers. I had a couple of jobs as a cashier and did not feel comfortable at all. I really am not a person who deals with anything from a black and white approach. Yet, because I worked a number of years as a reporter, I do ask a lot of questions to make sure I understand what people really mean when they say something. I am astonished at how badly a lot of people express themselves, even very well educated people. Have you noticed how people will say, “Can you believe it?” or, “I’m astonished!” and they expect you to know how they are thinking or feeling by such a statement. I no longer know if they are expressing a positive or negative emotion. So, I finally just started asking, “So, are you happy or mad?” They usually look at me like I’m crazy. Oh well. I tried to understand.

    I think it is great that you had the ability to ask the handyman who hurt him. I would love to have such a perceptive friend or therapist. I have gone to therapy and never have really thought the therapists were that perceptive! A good listener is a rare thing, so it’s great that you can listen and pick up on things.

  7. Oh Dear Brenda! I call it the “language of survivors” and somehow we know when it’s a safe place or person to speak it. I do a lot of “First Person” talks at the OKC Memorial and discuss this. Looking out at my audience, I see many heads nodding because they know it or dropping because the shame of being hurt is still so strong, fearing to speak the language.

    I think it’s why so many of your readers are so comfortable with you and seek the knowledge of your sharing. You offer a safe place to share our language. Much appreciation, Fran

  8. Tell your daughter,”Happy Birthday” from all of your reader friends!

    I bet the guy that told you about his childhood felt alot better after, getting it off his chest Brenda!

    Your daughter ponders over numbers, you do with words and I’m like that when I make up recipes. Everyone is different in their own way!

    Very windy here! It took the cover off 1 of my trash barrels and threw my receptacle container on it’s side! My dog went quick outside cuz he didn’t want to get blown away! ?

    Have a great lunch with your birthday girl! I haven’t made Chinese food in quite awhile…after Thanksgiving! ?

  9. My daughter who is my youngest was 39 in July. My son is 46. May your daughter have a Happy Fun and Blessed Birthday.

    1. Her sister kept Andrew with her kids and her husband took her to Dallas. She said it was good movies, good food, and a nap every day, which she can’t do at home with Andrew.

  10. Your writing today is very thoughtful… I like the puzzle analogy for choosing the best word to fit in a sentence. The picture of the immature cardinal is also delightful. They never hold still for long so it’s a hard bird to get a good shot!

  11. I hope you have a wonderful lunch and that Miss Ivy stays out of trouble while you are gone. I can’t remember if you put up a Christmas tree, but if you do, boy oh boy would Ivy ever love that – knocking the ornaments down and climbing the tree! I had a cat you would climb half way up the tree and sit in it and then another who just loved to sit under the tree as I think she felt she was out in the woods. I’m so glad Ivy is so much fun for you and I hope Charlie’s tummy starts to feel better. Enjoy your afternoon!
    Carol and Molly

  12. Happy Birthday to your daughter! I know the two of you will have a super time together. Wonderful new memories are in the making! Enjoy this day.

  13. Wow! That level in intuitiveness and empathy is a powerful thing to have. You have some kind of wavelength that is amazing. Would that we all be more forthcoming and accepting? It would be nice if more people just listened more. I’m going to focus on that. Thanks for the thanksgiving present.

    And happy birthday to your daughter. I’m visiting mine for Thanksgiving.

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