On Election Day, Nov. 5, 1968, my mother waddled to the end of our driveway and installed a mailbox; my dad worked the polls; my older brother spent his last hours as an only child; Richard Nixon defeated Hubert Humphrey in the presidential election; and I was born. Except for that, it was a Tuesday like any other.
They say Tuesday's child is full of grace.
And I am, except when my birthday falls on a Thursday. For that matter, except when it's my birthday.
Except when I'm turning 41, and I haven't had time to plan and implement a full-fledged midlife crisis, and as things stand now, it looks as if I'll have to put it off for another 20 years. I don't even know whether moms are allowed to have a midlife crisis or if we are required by our titles to keep holding it all together until they slip us beneath the soil and it's too late to do anything about changing the course of our lives.
I'm full of grace, except when my parents start having conversations that make me feel 14 again -- riding in the car with grandparents nattering off about the price of peanuts while listening to big-band music on the radio -- and in the same instant emphasize the hastening march of time.
"That McDonalds looks familiar," says my mother.
"It sure does," agrees my father, squinting real hard out the car window, trying to activate the neural connections in the part of his brain that deal with fast-food establishments.
Meanwhile, I sit in the passenger seat with the GPS, navigating for my parents, who pretty much refuse to turn anywhere I tell them. My daddy is driving. My mother is in the backseat. She's driving, too.
I roll my eyes like I did when I was 14, waiting for them to tune in to a radio station spinning the golden oldies.
Ignoring me, they keep pecking away at the McDonalds subject. "I think we've been there before. Why did we stop there?" my mama asks. She's entirely serious.
"I think we got something to eat," my father replies, not the least bit sarcastic.
Gosh, they're addling, I think, reverting back to a smug adolescent in the presence of my parents.
But my attitude vaporizes within seconds. I realize that I'm in on this strange journey with them. There are three of us steering this auto, in some capacity, all wrestling to drive it in a different direction, and not a one among us can see past the hood ornament, unless, of course, someone stood at that distance holding an Advil bottle. In that case, we could read every word of the fine print.
Crap. That means I'm getting older ... old, too. I don't like the way that word "old" fits. Where has the time gone? What did I do with it?
"Have you ever seen a McDonalds that didn't look familiar? They all look alike," I snap.
Yes, Tuesday's child is full of grace, always, except when I don't have good answers to important questions.
Except when my husband quips, "We can't spend all our grocery money on birthday candles. We've got to eat, you know."
They say people born under the zodiac sign of Scorpio are loyal, passionate, resourceful, determined and intuitive; that Scorpios concern themselves with beginnings and endings and are afraid of neither.
All true. It's this time in the middle that's giving me fits.
(Lucy Adams is a syndicated columnist, freelance writer and author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny . She lives in Thomson. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her web site, www.IfMama.com.)