Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, G'ma

I always liked the fact that our birthdays were a week apart.  You and I were the only ones who truly appreciated the month of February.  Everyone else was looking forward to Lincoln's Birthday and Washington's Birthday but you and I knew that the more important dates were our birthdays.

We were right, of course.

You did not look forward to turning 50.  Your standard line had always been, "Just take me out back and shoot me."  When Daddooooo procured a cake with that picture decorating the top, you were not amused.  He never tried to be an ass... and yet, he was.

Still, you smiled and ate it and thanked him. 

Valentines Day was yet another reason for gifts in February, and his heart shaped pizza the following year made up for the 50 faux pas.  You were good about concentrating on the better side of his weirdness... and he never did forget a birthday.

When I turned 40 you forgot to call... or send a card... or remember that it was my natal day at all.  When we spoke later that week, you were abashed.  It seems that you were incapable of registering the fact that you had a child who was four decades old.  You'd just denied my existence.

I laughed with you at that.  As Little Cuter looks her up-coming 30th birthday squarely in the face, I feel your pain.  I'm not laughing so hard any more. 

You aged gracefully and peacefully, shedding your sharper edges along the way.  Though Brother and Sister think I had the hardest duty, caring for you at the end of your life, they are wrong.  You were no longer judgmental... except about strangers at parties.  You were willing to do whatever I suggested, and thought my adventures were delightful even though you couldn't remember them.

You loved me, and told me so.  That was the best and most profound change, the one I cherished most.  You trusted me and never argued... if I thought it was right, then you agreed.  I knew that was a blessing at the time, and I told you so.  Your response was quintessentially you: Why not? Who wants to be around a cranky old lady?

I would love to take you to lunch tomorrow, sharing sea food and watching you devour a chocolate dessert.  Instead, I'll dig in the garden and talk to you.  I'll tell you about FlapJilly and the consonants pouring from her face and I'll wish, for a while and forever, that you were here to share the joy.  It's like you said when Bubba, your mother, died: Now, there's no one else on the planet who wants to hear me kvell* about my grandchildren as much as I want to kvell about my grandchildren.

I won't languish in sorrow, though, because we were happy whenever we were together, and I don't want to lose that feeling.  I'll remember your 90th birthday party and your bemusement...what am I doing?  It must be a party. It's for me? I'm HOW old? ... and I'll wish we were celebrating your 92nd one today..... together.

Happy Birthday Mommy..... I love you lots.

*kvell- express joy, brag


  1. OMG, this is a beautiful love letter to your mom. So poignant and funny too. I'm glad you are remembering all of the fun times you had with your mom. That's how we are to remember our loved ones. And you never had one doubt that your mom loved you. She was always showing you love.

    Happy birthday G'ma.

    Megan xxx

    1. Yes, she was... that's why I say I got the easiest part of her to love <3

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