11-11-11. . . Lucky numbers?

So it’s finally 11-11-11.  I’ve been waiting for this day for. . . well, years.   It’s my lucky day!  Eleven has always been my lucky number.

Now, if you’re into numerology, this makes no sense.  In numerology, you’re supposed to reduce all numbers to a single digit.  Thus, my two “ones” in eleven, should really become a “two”.   But for me. . . it’s just plain old eleven.

I was born on 11-11 and have spent most of my life celebrating my birthday on a holiday.  In grade school, we had the day off and everyone could come to my birthday party.  <<grin>>  With typical kid logic, my compadres reasoned that I was responsible for the day off and I got great presents.  (I did not try to disillusion them with the facts.)  And every time I’ve had to write down my birthday, I have been somehow pleased to see the stately pairs of ones standing side by side.  Eleven seems. . . substantial.  Like pillars.  Pairs.   Friends standing side by side. 

A lot of people, looking at my life would say I’ve had my share of bumps, snags, and hard luck.  Deaths.  Illnesses.  Hard knocks and losses.  Yeah, I guess I have.  Lost a beloved husband early.  Had a kid with two life threatening illnesses that brought me to my knees again and again.  And most recently discovered I have had two different kinds of cancer within one year’s time.   But each time I pulled through with the help of my beloved sister and my dear fiance and friends whose love and care supported me in ways that both humbled and sustained me.  I am a survivor in the rawest, most basic sense of the word, and I embrace that over-used term and all it’s prickly, unsettling implications.  Because I truly believe that I am one lucky broad.

I was born into a family that already had one child.  A girl.  My older sister.  She has been the backdrop and the foundation of my lucky life.  She loved me.  I don’t know why, but she did– right from the start.  And my life has been all the luckier for it.  She’s the one I’ve shared dreams and triumphs and tragedies with. . . even the tragedy of losing my husband and best friend.  She has always been there for me, through illnesses and disappointments and changes and uncertainties.  She is the one who taught me to tie shoes and wear lipstick and match the colors I wore. . . even taught me to read when I was four.  She was the one who stayed home with me when I was sick and teased me about my crushes and commiserated with me about the rejections in my early writing career.  She’s been my critique group, my sounding board, my editorial committee.  She’s been one of the ones in my “eleven,” shoulder to shoulder, standing tall beside me for all of my life.  At least that’s the way I see it.

We aren’t mean to go through life alone.  We humans are born into social groups and we thrive or we wither based on the quality of our interactions with our families and peers.  We need love and approval and correction and guidance.  We need feedback and laughter and occasionally a good swift kick in the tuchus. . . all of which come from our partners, friends, and family.  That’s why deaths close to us are so damaging and isolating.  I recall my mother, who was sliding deep into Alzheimer’s, being shocked over and over that my husband had died and telling me that I was not meant to go through life alone. . . that I needed to find another partner to go through life with.  It was one of the single most moving moments in my life.  That rare bit of caring and clarity in her dying brain– reaching out to comfort me and to guide me for what was probably the last time.  And I share that with you now.

Interestingly, I did find another “one” to stand with me and walk beside me.  The Pool Boy, as I laughingly call him, is my partner, my completion, my mate.  He is so different from my husband, but so right for me at this time in my life.  He is compassion when I need it, he is correction when I want it, he is support and encouragement and help and companionship, and sometimes even a rudder for my crazy life.  My mom, it turns out, was right. 

You are part of an eleven, too.  You are not meant to go though life alone.  You are meant to have society and love and challenge and a whole mix of wonderful and difficult and growth-producing interactions with the people in your life.  You are built for relationship, and it is the relationships in your life that make it worth living.  They burnish your spirit and feed and develop your soul.  So whatever you do, feed and tend and make time for those relationships.  Cherish them.  Learn from them.  Let them change you, grow you, polish and shape you.

Okay– that was not what I expected when I sat down to write this blog.  I was going to talk about what makes us lucky and maybe throw in a link to something about numerology.  What makes me lucky?  My 11-11 birthdate?  Personally, I think that it’s the fact that I believe I’m lucky.  I’ve always felt blessed, lucky, fortunate.  My mom told me early on in my life that I was “fortune’s child.”  Literally, those words.  They sank in and her notion about me became my lived reality.   I have held that thought in my heart and it has sustained me in rough times.  I truly am Fortune’s Child.  Born on the eleventh of the eleventh.  Loved from the start.  And it is my job here to share that love and that luck with others.  It’s my mission in life, and now my mission in my writing, too.

Lordy, all that’s missing here is an altar call!  Hey, take whatever may help you from these musings and ignore the rest.  Thanks for sharing my lucky 11-11-11 birthday with me. . . and may it be as lucky for you as it already has been for me!  Enjoy!

So, what’s your lucky number?  And why is it lucky for you?  Any special “number” stories out there?  Are you a lucky person, too?  Do you believe some people are luckier than others?  If so, why do you think that is?

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12 Responses to 11-11-11. . . Lucky numbers?

  1. Stephenia says:

    My lucky number is 7. It is the number I always hoped for as a jersey number when playing sports in school, it is odd…so am I, It is the day of rest – I need rest-I like rest, It is the number of something that would take me through the whole week-7 pair of underwear-7 granola bars for breakfast. It also just sounds and feels right! Your posting today brought a little tear to my eye when I read it, it just slipped out. We are not meant to go through life alone, my daugher and I were having this family/love/tolerance convesation last night and it was nice to hear that reaffirmation this morning in your post – thanks!

  2. Liz Flaherty says:

    What a great post. And what a great tribute to your sister. I have no idea what my lucky number is, but I’ve always liked the looks of eights. Thanks for sharing–it was fun reading.

  3. kris says:

    My best friend’s daughter turns 11 today. How cool is that??

  4. Cindy Gerard says:

    Betina – Lord, girl, do you know how to wring the emotions out of me. Had to wipe my eyes before I could even type this. I love your wisdom and insights and your indomitable spirit. Many among us would not have the courage or the wisdom to consider themselves LUCKY after all you’ve been through.
    Your message resonated with me in many many ways but what really struck home was: “Born on the eleventh of the eleventh. Loved from the start. And it is my job here to share that love and that luck with others”
    Well I wasn’t born on the eleventh but I truly was loved from the start and I’m still loved now and that makes me a very lucky person. Thanks for the delicious reminder of that fact that we sometimes take for granted
    My luck #, by the way is 3. Have no idea why. I just like it, I guess :o)
    Thanks again, sweetie for this amazing post.
    And Happy Veteran’s Day to all of our veterans today. Thank you for loving your country enough to serve.

  5. Cindy Gerard says:

    Oh – and my goodness I forgot. Happy Happy Birthday, Darlin’ And may you have many many more!!!

  6. loisgreiman says:

    Happy Birthday Betina!! You’re the wonderfulest.

  7. Betina, dear friend, to know you is to love you. I climbed into the convertible with tears in my eyes, have just watched the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington. Taps does it to me every time. Your touching piece kept the tears coming. I don’t do that often, mind you, but courage inspires me to tears. It’s not sadness. What then? Celebration, I think. The nobility of the human spirit. That’s you, Betina. Tears with a smile. Happy birthday!

  8. Oh, lucky numbers. I often choose 5. Two parents, 3 kids. My mother’s mother, my mother, and me. So my number says something about going through life with people, too. I’m a November baby, too. One and one walking side by side. I like that!

  9. michelehauf says:

    I truly such a pleasure to call you a friend, Betina. You give new definition to strength. Have a super birthday, and so many more!

  10. Leanne Banks says:

    Betina, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful blog. Thank you for the reminder that we are lucky because we are loved!HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! xoxo, Leanne

  11. debradixon says:

    I definitely believe in luck, but I also believe in putting yourself in a position for luck to find you!

    Great blog. A great reminder that we should never forget how lucky we are to have “peeps.”

    Happy birthday!!

  12. Kathleen O'Donnell says:

    I am so glad you found someone else to share your life with.. I never did find someone to spend my life with. But I am lucky I have loads of friends and family.
    As far as numbers go. I was born on a Friday the 13th.. But I don’t believe in superstitions with numbers. Nothing bad, nor nothing really really good has happened to me on this date.. It has always been life as normal…
    Happy Birthday.. I hope you have a good day.. My godmother was born on this day too..But she has been gone a number of years now..

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