Over the years, I’ve discovered that things are not always black and white, ones and zeroes. This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn, since by nature and by vocation I tend to be very definite and decisive. Much as I would prefer otherwise, sometimes truth lies in the synthesis of disparate ideas.
This was brought home to me by the celebration of my birthday. Yesterday, while I was at work in the city, my parents showed up here at home with a Shepherd’s Pie* and a Black Forest Cake to commemorate my 50th birthday.
You can imagine David’s puzzlement, as they insisted that my birthday is on the 6th of October.
“But, Grandma, Dad’s birthday is on the 8th.”
“No, we celebrate his real birthday,” my Mom scolded him. “Not two days late, like the rest of you.”
At some point in my early teens, my Mom forgot which day was actually my birthday and accidentally celebrated it on the 6th. Unwilling to admit she made a mistake, Mom has steadfastly insisted on her birthday conspiracy theory, ever since. My birth certificate, my passport, and early childhood memories all agree that my birthday is on the 8th. But my Mom casually dismisses all this. “That doctor didn’t know what he was writing, as drunk as he was. Who would know better, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or me?”
There is really no answer to such a claim. Clearly, I dare never run for President, lest I spawn my own birther movement.
But if there is anything that I enjoy nearly as much as Nutella, it is my Mom’s delectable beef stew pie and exquisite Black Forest Cake. So when David and I got home from AWANA this evening, the thought of that pie and the cake in the fridge was almost more than we could bear.
“Tonight we should taste one or the other, of the pie or cake,” David demanded.
“But it isn’t my birthday, yet,” I wailed, weakening in the face of our mutual hunger.
Then an idea struck me. If my Mom (who made the pie and cake) insists that my birthday is on the 6th, and all other documentation shows it on the 8th, then what can I do but compromise and celebrate on the 7th? We agreed to save the cake for tomorrow, but to break out the Shepherd’s Pie* tonight. It seemed a reasonable synthesis.
Project 365, Day 280
* I know that the true definition of a “Shepherd’s Pie” is quite different from the beef pie that my Mom makes, but this is the name by which I have always called it, and I’m not about to start changing now. There are limits to my ability to compromise, after all.