Today is my birthday and my watch was the first to send me a Happy Birthday message.
I expect to get phone calls from my sister, from the kids, from some friends, and probably a lot of Happy Birthday wishes from people known and unknown on Facebook.
I’ll be delighted to hear from all of them, grateful they remember, care, and take time to let me know. Of course, they have the time because most of them are self-isolating and are, no doubt, bored silly.
But I’ll miss a couple of calls.
My Dad was always the first to call, early usually waking me up, and would begin the conversation with his rendition of Happy Birthday played on his harmonica. He and my stepmother would each say a few words, and then be off to their busy social life, probably interrupting a good night’s sleep of other friends who were also celebrating birthdays on March 25.
My Mother would call soon after with her well wishes, and we would chat about what each of us would be doing that day. On my birthday a few weeks before her death Mother didn’t call, so mid-morning I called her to say my usual ‘thank you for birthing me’. She hesitated, then asked “Is this your birthday?” She was so sorry she hadn’t remembered. I too was sorry. Not because she had forgotten, but well, because she couldn’t remember.
As I greet my 78th year out of the womb, I recall my 6th birthday. Mother allowed me to invite whomever I wanted, and I made the selections carefully: they were all boys. As they trooped in, Mother realized her mistake and quickly called the mothers of the girls I knew for a quick invite. She never made that mistake again.
I don’t know that we made a big deal of birthdays, but we always had a cake and a gift, so I consider this annual event special. My husband’s family didn’t celebrate these grand occasions, so banging drums and having crowds around didn’t make sense to him. But I always awoke on the morning of my birthday with a card and a bouquet of flowers on the breakfast table.
So this year, I count my blessings and revel in the knowledge I have been loved and I am loved. I’ll celebrate with a cupcake, a candle, phone calls, messages, and a special gathering of ‘mis hermanas’ via Zoom as we laugh, share, and love one another…six feet apart!
Thank you family and friends for making my continued journey such a glorious experience.