I tried to write this yesterday morning about just my mother but it felt like an obituary so I trashed the entry. Maybe it is the jet lag. This entry isn’t much better frankly, but here it goes. For the last 40 odd years this day, my birthday and the Radish’s, has been about us. Perhaps to my father and sisters it could seem like a little birthday club for two but I think they actually consider it a two-fer. For a good 17 years my mother got the short end of the birthday stick: baking the cake (sometimes pie), throwing a party for someone else, worrying about presents. Some years she had the party, some years it was me, sometimes we just had a nice dinner party for five at home – but it was always a special day. This year we had a mini preparty together in Baltimore. Next year is a milestone year for the Radish and so the party will be all hers – it is just a question of where.
I was well into my thirties when someone remarked how awful it would be to share a birthday with a parent – whomever died last would always be sad on their birthday. It had never occurred to me. Cursing the person at the time, it has made me more aware, in the end, of how blessed each birthday is, for her and for me, alone and together. As with anniversaries, I fundamentally do not understand people who say that birthdays are not special or important; at the very least, it is an opportunity to thank your mother for all her hard work!
As I write this, a continent away my sisters are busy cooking my mother a gourmet birthday meal, the nephews are scrambling about like a pack of puppies, and The Bear is probably hunting for wrapping paper and a pen to write in the card. On my fifth birthday, he picked me up after kindergarten and we shared a shake and a burger at a local hamburger stand, a shack on a corner of our little town. Then we bought my mother some leather go-go boots, a makeup compact with a variety of turquoise and aqua eye shadows, and a big brass key ring so she could always find her keys in her crocheted purse. The Radish was pleased. This year she is not getting anything so memorable, just the pleasure of seeing my hair cut and a mother and child reunion. That’s enough for the two of us, don’t you think?
P.S. Would now be a good time to tell my mother that Sue B’s had air conditioning, we were just too stupid to find it?