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Reflections on Birthdays Past

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.

This Post Has 62 Comments

  1. carole,i lost my father 11 years ago and his b-day was just a few days before yours.i honor his special day because he was one of my most special people.i am lucky to still have my mother around even though she lives 3000 miles today i will raise a glass in your honor for all your lovely posts and great joy and entetrtainment your blog brings to so many of us

  2. Mom’s teach us to be independent, but they are not around to teach us the harder lesson, of getting on without them. I am blessed and do not need to learn that lesson today. Someday, if the natural order is followed I will have to learn that lesson.

    Sounds like you experienced many blessings on your special day this year, that is a good thing.

  3. In sharing your memories of your mom, she will not only live on with you, but her example now lives on through all of us. From now on whenever I’m celebrating a special occasion in a restaurant, I will share my cake. And, I’m going to email my sisters right now and share this idea with them since they are the ones with the children who could truly benefit from this. Thank you.

    {{BIG HUG}}

  4. I wonder how it will feel to not have my Dad at Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or the next family wedding. I wonder, too, how it will seem to not hear his voice the first thing in the morning on my birthday when he calls to wish his “daughter number two, the best mistake I ever made” a happy birthday. It’s all so new to me, and as I read your post, it reminds me that those days are ahead, and how we will never stop missing a parent who has gone on. Happy BIrthday once again, Carole. And that sounds like a dang good birthday dinner.

  5. glad you could remember your mom and make your birthday special to yourself again. keeping those traditions you two had will keep the day siginificant.

  6. Oh, Carole, what a nice tribute to your mom. She certainly taught you some wonderful things. I hope the birthday was happy despite that lonely feeling of not having her!

  7. What a lovely tribute to a woman who clearly knew how to raise a loving, giving daughter…and what better tribute is there than that? 🙂

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