Archive for category Birthdays
TweetFour years ago I began delivering the “State of the Self;” a reflection on the past year of life which is always given the evening of my birthday. This is my 2010 State of the Self.
February 27, 1979 is the day I stopped breathing someone else’s air and began breathing on my own. It was not by choice. The woman’s body is built only to support another life for so long before the placenta begins to thin, before the protective and nourishing sac of life begins to deteriorate. It’s like our birthday is our first eviction and the landlord is our mother’s body.
A birth. A day.
I spare no indulgence on the 27th of February and, previous to this year, birthdays always meant my customary helium balloon, sheet cake with vanilla satin icing, and a long list of “must to do” things that include morning mimosas, naps, writing, dreaming, and sniffing around closets and car trunks for my hidden gifts. For the record, I never pretend to be more than a child on my birthday, save the mimosas.
But this birthday is different. This is my first birthday as a mother. This is the first birthday in which the word “birth” and “day” have extracted themselves from streamers and sweets and grew into profound meaning. “Birth,” as in, a son, my firstborn. Day has grown to be more than the frame of 24 hours. “Day” is now gift.
Last year, my State of the Self focused on my identity as a writer. My pen itself nearly throbbed with pain as I described the challenges of creative writing. Now, I worry less about identity as a writer and more about truthfulness. Being truthful with Isaiah may very well be the most challenging task of my life.
And one truth I am going to share with my son is to take moments for himself. Or as I like to put it: Breathe in the awesome. I never understood those who hated their birthday. I suppose it can be viewed as a self-important concept, but the celebration of life, of my own life has always superceded any other reason to deny the day. Those who dread their birthday often do so because of a number – age. Or it reminds them of death.
Birth, for me, evokes the boundless beginning of life.
But if birthdays aren’t your cup of tea, I hope and pray that you do find a day, a time to rejoice in your own life in the very miracle of your existence. Because if we can’t find a reason or an hour to relish in our blessings, to be authentically and radically grateful for our friends, family, lovers, gifts, talents, experiences, insights, and lessons – I don’t know if we’re truly seeing ourselves – or life – clearly enough.
Thirty-one years is more than enough reason for cake and drinks. And after birthing my son, I know that thirty-one seconds alone is more than enough reason for celebration. The paradox of birth – its fragility and its power – must, begs, needs to be recognized. And celebrated. Isaiah has taught me that.
So, my state at 31 is one of utter grace. Grace of understanding. Grace of frustration. Grace of holy parenting and emotion. It is a period of firsts and failures and finding that my life can hold so much more than I ever thought possible. That realization also came with the responsibility that I myself am capable of so much more than I ever thought possible.
It is my birthday wish that everyone – at some point in their life – births new life and it need not be a child. A revolution, a concept, relationship, invention, methodology, habit or path that inducts an enhanced thought-process, a better more gentle way of loving and being in the world.
Because if we all took a moment to birth and rejoice in our own birthing, the state of grace would no longer be a temporary lingering, but an everlasting positioning of soul.
Someday I hope you can forgive your Uncle Nick and I for forgetting your first birthday, which was yesterday, May 14th. Given how nuts I am about birthdays, it is with great shame that I admit, as your Tita/Auntie, to have forgotten to call you and listen to you babble into the phone.
When you are older, I hope you can understand that the human brain’s capacity to remember dates, even significant ones, does not accurately reflect the priorities in our lives and we are so sorry to have moved on throughout May 14th as if it were just another day.
You are a joy to watch. You have an older sister and two older brothers and I, being the youngest of four with the same ratio as you, can empathize with all the impending torture you will endure from your siblings. Already, you are being wrestled and jumped on, stepped on and stepped over by your brothers who sometimes treat you like a pillow or a bouncy mattress to cushion their falls. You always just smile and giggle like you are being tickled. Never mind that I start wailing like your neck is broken, you just smile at me and gurgle in delight that you are being used as a punching bag.
Your nickname by your siblings is Doe-Doe, I’m assuming because Jesse can’t say JOEY and Doe-Doe sounds better. Your other names are POOG and POOGIE…where those come from, I have no idea. I just call you Joe-Joe and carry you around when I can, whispering little messages into your ear, hoping the firing neurons in your brain will record in your memory how much you are loved and how you are adored by your family.
And with that, little angel, I sign off and wish you the best first belated birthday ever. One down, 99 to go, my dear nephew.
With all our love,
Tita Lisa and Uncle Nick
TweetOver the weekend I went to Hocking Hills for the first time. I went with a group of women who dubbed the getaway, “Wild Women’s Weekend.”
Believe me, there was nothing wild about it, except how we got CRAZY and ate sweet potato quesadillas, cheesecake, lasagna, and about thirty pounds of fresh carrots with hummus.
It’s been a long time since I shared a big house with 16 other women. Of the sixteen, I knew three very well and the rest by connection or acquaintance. It struck me that I was one of the oldest among them, at a ripe 30 years of age, and as I continue to wear my thirty crown, I am blessed to have weekends where I just giggle, write, exercise, and go for hikes around caves and waterfalls. I don’t have a neurotic husband who doesn’t know how to feed himself or have the lovely grace/burden of children who need their Mama.
It was the first time in a long time I had back to back nights of 2am/3am bedtimes. This morning, Wednesday, was the first day I felt really recovered. Whatta wimp I am.
When I returned home, my voicemail message box was full (no phone reception in the woods) and it suggested I delete messages to make room for new ones. Considering I am eagerly waiting for interviews and job prospects, that might be a good idea.
Some messages were quite hilarious. Of the several I received, here were the classics:
[insert angry tone] Hi, Leese. It’s Victor. I don’t know where you are or why you’re not picking up the phone, but I’d like to wish my sister a Happy Birthday on her actual birthday. So, pick up next time will you?
[insert exasperation] Hey, Leese, it’s Tricia. Why don’t you pick up your freaking phone?! Pick up! Pick up! We have to talk. You won’t believe who called me. I know it’s your birthday, but I have to tell you something.
[insert happy] Heeeyyyy, Leese, it’s Jennnniiiifffeerrrr! How are you? Just calling to say Happy Birthday. We really need to chat! Why do we wait so long to talk? Here’s an incentive to call me: I think I might be in love! AHAHHAHAAH – how’s that? Call me!
[from Mike, a childhood friend] I swear, back in the day, I once gave someone a humongous New Kids on the Block card. If I could get another one I would give it to you now. Happy Birthday.
[from Leslie, former colleague] At 30, I was dating ugly men and making bad decisions, you’re doing awesome!
[from Kristie, good bud] I hate to tell you this on your birthday, but you might be crazy.
TEXT AND VIDEO MESSAGES
[from Amanda, one of my best friends] records herself singing and dancing to, “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves
[text from Alexis, friend and former co-worker] writes: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FAVORITE MUFFIN IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.
So, a big thank you to all those who sent me wonderful and fun-filled greetings. It was a birthday I shall never forget.
TweetOver the weekend, I celebrated by 30th birthday even though my actual birthday is Friday, February 27.
In addition to the great community of friends we have here in Cleveland, my buds Heather and Mary Kay came from Cincinnati, Alexis DROVE from Boston, and Leanne drove from Chicago.
I feel extremely loved.
I wore a ridiculous and wonderfully large and charge birthday hat (pictures to come), and a had a grrrand time. I also gave everyone a 30 question quiz about the Queen Bee of Thirty (aka Moi), and the grand prize winner won two free movie tickets. The point of the quiz was to have people mingle and get the answers from other people at the party. So, in addition to making new friends, you got to learn more about the birthday girl. What a great idea!
The winner only had one wrong AND it was not Nick, nor my sister. Can you believe it?
Thirty Questions for Lisa’s Thirty Years
(the number after the question denotes how many people should be listed)
1. What is the real date of Lisa’s birthday? February 27
2. In what state was Lisa born and grew up in? New Jersey
3. Find all who attended Xavier University with Lisa? Nick, Books, Mary Kay, Pete
4. Fine all who accompanied Lisa to the Barack Obama rally in November? Nick, Jennifer B., Adam, Christina, Brian
5. Find the person who once came to visit Lisa during Grey’s Anatomy and was left outside until a commercial break: Alexis Melville
6. Other than the United States, what other two countries has Lisa lived in for at least two months? the Philippines and Nicaragua
7. Match the nickname to its originator:
“Babar” –> Carmen Factora
“Leek” –> Francis Factora
“Hammerhead” –> Nick Borchers
“Lisa Ma-*ucking-rie” –> Lisa’s Freshman Year Roommate
8. Choose the ONE statement that is NOT true. (C is the correct answer.)
On June 4, 2005, when she got married, Lisa
a) wore her running shoes all day
b) journaled before she walked down the aisle
c) mildly sprained her left ankle
d) fell asleep after the wedding mass
9. True or False: Lisa was a cheerleader for four years. TRUE
10. Find who went with Lisa to the New Kids on the Block concerts? Carmen
11. Nick and Lisa met: (B is the correct answer.)
a) during MANRESA, freshman orientation week
b) at GETAWAY, a retreat for first year students
c) as RESIDENT ASSISTANTS in Brockman Hall
d) at a Kuhlman Hall/Brockman Hall mixer
12. Choose the ONE that is NOT TRUE. (C is the correct answer.)
Lisa has worked as all but one of the following:
a) a ice-cream server at Honey’s Homemade
b) a caddy at Glenmore Country Club
c) a cashier at Whole Foods
d) a waitress at Chi-Chi’s
e) a sales associate at the Gap
13. True or False: Lisa was born cesarean. TRUE
14. In whose apartment did Lisa watch the Buckeyes demolish the Wolverines in the latest rivalry match? Sam and Laura
15. Write the full name of the person Lisa and Nick call, “The Baker.” TOM BAKER
16. Write the names of Lisa’s unofficial wine advisers.
Mary Kay Koehler & Heather Apple
17. It was primarily because of this person that Lisa and Nick moved to Cleveland.
18. True or False: Lisa has three nephews and one niece. TRUE
19. True of False: Lisa is the youngest of four. TRUE
20. What Ohio university was Lisa originally supposed to attend before deciding three weeks before orientation to attend Xavier University? John Carroll University
21. Choose one. (A is the correct answer.)
If Lisa could dominate one sport she would choose:
c) speed skating
22. Lisa has lived in all but one of the following states: (D is the correct answer.)
a) New Jersey
23. Choose the ONE statement that is NOT true: (B is the correct answer.)
a) Lisa pretended to faint in the fifth grade during gym class.
b) Her favorite color is yellow.
c) In 2000, she met Martin Sheen.
d) In 1995, Patrick Ewing winked and smiled at her in an airport.
e) Lisa despises carrying a purse.
24. Find all of Lisa’s Facebook friends. (This one is stupid to answer now…)
25. Choose the ONE statement that is NOT true. (C is the correct answer.)
a) Lisa has talked her way out of two speeding tickets.
b) She has an extra bone in both her feet.
c) Prior to getting a nose stud, she had an eyebrow ring.
d) Lisa reached 5”2 in 4th grade and has not grown taller since.
26. Choose the pair of sport icons whom Lisa followed religiously growing up:
(A is the correct answer.)
a) Andre Agassi and Kim Zmeskal
b) Michael Jordan and Jennifer Capriotti
c) Shannon Miller and Magic Johnson
d) Stephi Graf and Kristi Yamaguchi
27. At age 11, Lisa seriously considered becoming: (A is the correct answer.)
a) a nun
b) a writer
c) a counselor
d) a lawyer
28. Lisa’s first home fitness instructor was (C is the correct answer.)
a) Billy Blanks from Tae Bo
b) Chenille Johnson from Turbo Jam
c) Jane Fonda from Step it Up
d) Richard Simmons from Sweatin’ to the Oldies
29. Choose the one statement that is NOT on ” Lisa’s Bucket List for 30.” (C is the correct answer.)
a) run a road race
b) get pregnant
d) become a saavy vegan cook
30. Correctly spell her entire name: ANA LISA FERNANDEZ FACTORA-BORCHERS
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TweetBelow: A funny gift from Nick on my birthday
Above: an old photo of Nick in honor of his 29 years
My birthday was a few weeks ago – February 27th – and it was a great time celebrating the big 2-9. Nick’s birthday is coming up as well – this Wednesday, March 19th. We’ll be traveling Thursday morning to Ohio for Holy Week and Easter and mostly be staying in the Massillon area with my family and get caught up with my nephews and niece. We have another nephew on the way who is due in May with a potential name of Christopher Factora. We’ll see.
This picture is of one of the gifts that Nick game me for my birthday. One of my favorite movies is, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and Nick humorously etched out the “Greek” and put in his own hometown.
The other pic is in honor of Nick’s big birthday this week. I believe this was taken his sophomore year or so in highschool.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NICK!