I left work last night at 11:30 pm (as I always do) and as I began my drive home, it dawned on me that in just a few minutes it would officially be my birthday. Yep. At midnight the date would flip to August 28th.
The drive home is long and it’s a quiet, often lonely ride. There’s typically not a lot of traffic on a Wednesday night and this was certainly true last night – so I set the speed on cruise control, settled back in the driver’s seat and let my thoughts drift back in time. I started thinking about and remembering past birthdays … and my thoughts shot immediately and directly to memories of my mom as if they were an arrow just released from a high-powered bow – to the big deal that she used to always make about my birthdays.
My mom loved people and she always loved celebrating things. I was her first-born child – so my birthday was definitely not an exception. She’d always make a beautiful and deliciously yummy cake. There would always be presents decorated with bows and bright pretty paper. Sometimes the presents were great – the gift was something I’d asked for or had desperately wanted. Sometimes, however, the gifts were not terribly great or exciting. Quite often my birthday presents included clothes. While this would thrill me now, it didn’t thrill me much way back when. The clothes would be “school” or “church” clothes for the Fall and Winter. They were pretty (my mom always had excellent taste), but they were not necessarily “cool” clothes … and they were also clothes that I wouldn’t even be able to wear for several weeks – sometimes even months. Late August in New York can still be rather warm. These birthday clothes were cold or cooler weather clothes: sweaters, jackets, long-sleeved blouses, turtle neck tops, wool pants, etc. They were cool clothes but not in the right way.
But I digress. … My mom always made a very big deal of my birthday. She’d fix a special meal. She’d talk about it being my birthday all day. Depending on what day of the week my birthday fell on, she’d often invite others over as well to join in my birthday celebration – grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends. We’d all eat cake. We’d all share a special meal. We’d all celebrate the fact that I’d been born.
OH. HOW I TOOK THIS ALL FOR GRANTED! OH, HOW I DIDN’T APPRECIATE MY MOM AND ALL HER EFFORTS AS MUCH AS I SHOULD HAVE BACK THEN! That’s what I realized last night on my drive home.
And that thought led me to think about the questions that usually get asked a lot on birthdays: “What would you like for your birthday this year?” or “What’s your birthday wish?”
I knew the answers to these questions right away last night. And I’m sure you’ve probably already guessed them … but I’m going to go ahead and tell you about my answers anyway (because after all, it is my birthday – my special day - and because some of my answers might surprise you) so here goes:
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