Its My Birthday

Today it is my birthday. I turned 48 at midnight. There is no sugar-coating 48; I am pushing hard upon 50. So I just want to thank god for my blessings and liabilities here publicly to you.

So I woke up this morning with a bit less wind in my sails than usual and I laid in bed for 45 minutes before I got up and graded papers. I am grateful that I am a morning person and that a “late” wake-up is 4:45am, and I can still grade 4 papers before I have to think about the secular concerns of the day.


Linda’s Class bought her flowers and baked her a cake for the last day of class. (The cynic suspects that they were playing for the party day of class.) Their Betty Crocker confection and floral gift the day before my birthday remind me how I wish that I could give Linda flowers and bake her cakes every day. I am so grateful that she has chosen to share her life with me. Those LaGuardia students get her for one semester, I am blessed with her for an “eternity of nows.”


On Saturday, Mason’s last game of the season, he took a ball to the face. It knocked him graigh back on his ass. Though is nose was bloodied he hopped right back up and refused to come off. I often think of him as less, but he is much more than his father imagines him as.


Chandler hates the colors we chose for our new apartment. She told us not to use either of the colors we chose but we kept our own council. Her anger was evident. I think she could have lived with rust and taxi, but she was hurt that we did not take her advice more than the color of the place. I am sure that part of her vexation was how small her side of the room looks now that we’ve spliced the big bedroom for the girls.


Lennox presented her cheek for a kiss goodbye on the way into school yesterday. She wanted to get through the door quickly more than she wanted to stop, turn and pucker-up. For the first few months of Kindergarten she was all about the goodbye, as though she wasn’t sure how the day would go. Now she looks forward school more than public doting on by dad.


I added a photo to todayeye that I took (when I had a working digital camera) which had my 34th birthdate on it. It is a bit morbid, but an arresting image because of the patterns and textures. I love to take pictures, and I miss my camera, but I think I’ll get one soon enough. I’m even grateful that it is broken because instead of taking pictures I am noticing them and thinking about how I “would” take them, framing them in my mind as much as swiping the image.


I am, for the first time, sad that a class is ending. I will be giving final exams for the rest of the week, but the classes I taught (the collection of people more than the accumulation of facts, work and knowledge) were really great corporate personalities. Now each class has its stars comets and tails, but looked at as a whole, they become the black-velvet-starry-sky-portrait that you take as a whole. I will even miss the clueless student who asks what I meant after I went through a 20 minute explanation of a sheet which “says-it-all” anyway. (“thesis, topics, evidence, analysis, proofread!”) Soon he won’t be in my life and I won’t remember his name when I see him in the atrium. My life will be poorer for his absence.


The blessing of my 48th birthday is that I start to see the patterns. Linda’s love, that has more lives than all the cats in the shelter. Chandler’s sense of self, Mason’s strength all spring from Lennox’s independence. Students will replace students. Images will present themselves anew. Life will evolve and change. Linda is still here.





19 responses to “Its My Birthday

  1. I’m glad you’ve made it this far. I hope you last a lot longer.

  2. It’s hard to believe you’re 48, but only from a crude tallying-up-the-years perspective; in the experience + achievements + friends and family + wisdom column, one would think you were 75. Have a great day/year and on and on, Stafford.

  3. happy birthday stafford! you’re the mellow and wise bodhisattva of LGCC, and the students and family are lucky to have you.


    sweet that you give props to linda on your birthday.

  4. Happy b-day Stafford!!!
    I enjoy reading your blog, it’s a blow of fresh air in the dull routine of everyday life.
    Cheers for your 48 years, the best is yet to come.
    A big hug for you, Linda and the kids, we miss you here.

  5. Great to hear about what’s going on with you, as always. I just turned 60 and I’m trying to get my head around that. Stay healthy and have fun! Love to you all from Paris.

  6. Many happy returns! I’m shocked that you have completed your 48th year! What a rich life.

    I’m very excited we will soon be neighbors and offer my services during the move.

    I think you do right to give props to your beloved on your birthday; it is not a small thing to have found someone wonderful with whom to share your life–a miracle worth celebrating every day.

  7. You’re rich beyond your wildest years, Stafford. Happy Day, and a big wet smoochie to Linda…get to it! See y’all in a few months.

  8. Happy Birthday Stafford, 48 is a beautiful age enjoy wisdom, self confidence and your achievement on both socially and professionally levels.
    Best wishes for you and your whole lucky family

  9. Stat, you schmaltzy old bow-tie wearing paper-grading fuck. 48 is the new 35. Chillax, brother. You’re only as old as your neck wear.


  10. I’m tryin’ to “bite” Matt’s Flava (and my Dad’s)

  11. Happy Birthday Stafford! I remember that fun meal at Wong Kee (is it still there?) Some things disappear as we all sail along, but I know you still have loads of lovely wind in your sails….Love to you and your beautiful family!

  12. As usual, Stafford, you’ve mined the quotidian for gifts of gratitude and hope. Doing that makes everyday your birthday, anniversary, graduation.

    Still, I like the tone of Ben’s greeting. Irreverence and disregard for age are more and more appealing. I’ll be 52 later this month – it’s turtlenecks all day, everyday for me. I’ve given up shaving, too. They stare at me so I might as well give ’em something to look at.

    The kids look great!

    Rock on!

  13. I wish that you were all at my 30th birthday at Wong Kee (no, it is closed). It reminds me of a song: New Feeling by those Talking Heads:

    …I wish…i could meet…every one
    Meet them all over again
    Bring them up to my room
    Meet them all over again
    Everyones up in my room…

    I guess that the thing that’s missing is the time to enjoy all of you. I called a couple of folks today that I hadn’t spoken with in too long, and I was consumed with the ungraded papers and my lack of time to go outside as I was re-connecting. Oh how I miss the time I had time!

  14. Eleanor Q. Tignor

    Stafford, with your love of life and your love of Linda and the children, you will live–and love–well beyond your totally unbelievable 48 years. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  15. Time – how I wish I could give you some of mine…
    Happy Birthday, my friend – here’s to 48 more!

  16. Joyeux Anniversaire mon cher, Happy Birthday Professor Gregoire…..

  17. Merci

    Congrats on admission to Columbia, you are THE example of what LaGuardia is capable of.

  18. your 48? i took you for a young 26… nooo jk jk but late 30’s well i guess you got good genes…

    ohh and about the steroids in baseball… names i expected names i didn’t expect, some reallllll no names… and some really “ahhhduhhhs”.

  19. Did you see the graphs in the times? I want to see a graph that correlates owners’ earnings with steroids.

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