Thank you all very much for the birthday wishes. I appreciate them so much and they really made me feel special. But the thing is, birthdays aren’t easy for me. It’s not turning a year older or feeling like time is going too fast or anything like that. It’s that I really miss my mom on my birthday. She’s the one who would make me my favorite dinner, know just the right present to buy and bake me a red velvet cake because I loved red velvet cake. Let’s face it, she’s the only other one who was there on that day – it was sort of her birthday, too. She got what my birthday meant.
And the truth is that no one will ever make me feel as special as my mom did on my birthday. So, when my day rolls around I tend to get kind of emotional and sort of needy and mostly hard to please. Ask Dale and he’ll tell you all about it. Ahem.
I did some things this time to honor my mom, though, and I feel pretty good about that. Saturday night we had friends over for dinner and I the same dinner that my mom used to make for me on my birthday. We had roast chicken and stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, Brussels sprouts and acorn squash. I baked a pumpkin pie for dessert because its my favorite kind of pie. It was a lot of work but I enjoyed every minute of it because I felt like I was honoring my mom and doing something special for my friends (and me) all at the same time. It took some of the sting out of the day.
On Sunday, my actual birthday, Dale and I went to the beach. I sat and knitted, listening to the waves and enjoying the warmth of the sun. I thought about how much I love the beach and how I got that love of the beach from my mom. After we left the beach Dale and I had a wonderful dinner in Plymouth and I thought about the times that my parents took me out for my birthday. I was just a little girl and they would always secretly tell the waitress it was my birthday and after dinner she would bring over a cake. I was taught, from about the age of 4, that I should pick out another couple in the restaurant and I should share my cake with them. I loved looking around the restaurant during dinner and contemplating which couple would get part of my cake. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I can still some see of the faces of those people all these years later. It was a really special thing for my parents to teach me and I’m grateful for those lessons. I hadn’t thought about it in a long time and I’m really glad those memories came back to me yesterday.
I still miss my mom and I still wish she (and her red velvet cake) could be with me on my birthday. I’m still learning – even after 11 birthdays without her – to live with the loss, to enjoy the memories, and to not expect anyone else to be able to take her place.
Looking back, moving forward, finding peace. I guess that’s what life is all about.