Jul 222013

I celebrate a birthday this week, and I’m thrilled to pieces that the Royal Baby was born today and not on my special day. Best of luck to the new future King, whose reign I will most likely never celebrate. Because of those good Windsor genes, a pundit speculated that the future king may not take the throne until 2070.

This birthday isn’t one of the special numbers – although some might say that when one is over fifty, every year is a significant number.  I’ll give you that.

I have an advance gift from my husband – he cleaned out the lint trap of the dryer.  He said he might knit me a sweater.

We’ll meet for lunch at our favorite hibachi place.  You’ve reached a certain age when you choose to have your particular birthday meal at lunch and not dinner.

I’ve been blessed with a stack of cards, almost all of them hilarious from new and old friends.  All are appreciated.

On my birthday, I will think about my mother.  Birthdays truly are not about us; they are about the woman who brought us into the world. Last July when I celebrated my birthday, my mother’s death still loomed close in my rear-view mirror.  She died in February 2012, and my natal day last summer was one sad day, worse even than her first birthday after her death.

My mom trained as an elementary school teacher, and adored small children possibly more than she loved adults. She had a way with babies and young children; she was a extraordinary young mother, full of life and engaging games for her two small children.

For me, the most special day of the year was my summer birthday.  (My poor brother got the short straw with an early January birthday; a few friends might follow him home off the bus and they played Hot Wheels on the living room floor.)

From the age of about four until ten, Mom hosted memorable birthday parties for me.

Here’s the funny part: there were no giant, blow-up moonwalks, no hired clowns, no fancy party favors or take-home bags.

Mom invited my friends from school and church for a backyard party with a few simple games she got from her education files.  I remember one game involved a string with a peppermint Life Saver on it that we passed around – I have no clue what the intent of the game was.  Does anyone remember this game?

The little girls wore party dresses and black patent leather shoes with little, lacy white socks.

After the games and presents, we ate angel food cake with pink boiled icing and drank Kool-Aid from tiny cups.  My father recorded these events in Kodachrome slides – one of which reveals my younger brother clearly out of sorts as the only male child present.

This week when I celebrate my natal day, I’ll think of my mom and what sweet memories she made for me. What better gift for a child than to know she is loved unconditionally?

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