Happy Birthday to Me


Today is my birthday.

Sixty three very short years ago, my wiggly little self made her way into this joyful world.

Today is my birthday.

For the first time in 33 years, I am not spending the day with my children. I think that’s a big step, and a sign of growth on my part.

As always, my kids reached out and asked, “Are we having a party or something for Mom this year?”

And I said, “Nah.”

Instead, do you know what I did to make the momentous occasion of my birth?

I went to see my Mom.

I mean, really now folks, what is more appropriate for celebrating your life than going to visit the woman who carried you around for nine months of life sucking, back aching, sleep stealing pregnancy? What’s more important than thanking the woman who spent hours of pain, more pain, wicked bad pain in order to push you out into the bright lights of your new world?

My Mom is 88 years old now. Her memory is not what we all wish it would be. She is frail in ways that shock me every week when I see her.

But she’s still Mom. She’s the woman who gave me her DNA, her time, her love of reading, her sense of humor, her temper, her recipe for red sauce and meatballs.

Mom was surprised when I arrived today with a bouquet of tulips. She’d forgotten that today was my birthday. But when I showed her the green/blue cake that her great grandchildren had made for me yesterday, she laughed. It only took a little bit of prompting to get her to retell the story of my birth, which she remembered in every detail.

She was embarrassed that she didn’t have a card for me. I hugged her, gently, and told her “You gave me life, Momma. You’re off the hook for a card!”

I don’t know if she really understands or accepts the fact that I don’t need a card of little gift from her. I hope that she does. I hope that she understand and realizes that with every trip around the sun, I am eternally grateful for the fact of her.

“Without you,” I said today, “I wouldn’t have a birthday, now would I?”

She looked at me and smiled, her familiar mischievous smile. “Dad and I did a really good job with you, didn’t we? You turned out OK.”

Happy Birthday to me.

Thanks, Mom.

Mom with her first great grandchild, my sweet Ellie.

26 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me

  1. Many happy thoughts for your day! It takes strength to celebrate without the ‘little ‘ ones …🧓🏼👶🏼😊.
    It’s wonderful that you visited your mother.
    It sounds like your mother is right, they did good!

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  2. Happy birthday! I just got off the phone with my daughter. My birthday is tomorrow, so she was getting in ahead of her three brothers. My big gift is the time change. Ugh!

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  3. Oh I love this little tale and your mom’s photo with her great-grandchild. I have been feeling blue and missing my mother tonight so your post hit the spot. My mother would have been 109 if she had lived. I’m so glad you still have yours and that she is still telling you stories. Ask her everything you can think of. I wish I had.

    I got home from my friend John’s birthday a few hours ago. He is 96 and his wife is 98! They are living in a big house a block from me and he is still driving.

    Happy Birthday, dear woman!!! You are the third friend to have a birthday this week.

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      • It’s funny, but those are two stories that my parents loved to tell. In fact, less than a week before he died, my Dad and Mom sat with me, my older brother and my daughter, and regaled us with stories about how they met, how he proposed, our births. It was one of the most profound moments of my life, as we all knew, including Dad, that these were among our last conversations.

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  4. Happy Birthday, happy year ahead. I really loved this post. I’m the same age as you but my mother died many years ago and I’ve wished so often that she could have been around to experience all the usual ups and downs of family life: to see her son (my brother) finally get married, and her granddaughters graduate from university, get married; enjoy their adventures as they travelled the world; watch them achieving their dreams (and grappling with quite a few broken ones too); celebrate with me the publication of my two books; comfort my dad in his final years. Most of all, I wish I could go and sit and chat with her. I’m very glad you could do that for your birthday. Thanks for sharing your day.

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    • I’m so sorry for your loss; I can’t even imagine the sun rising on a world without my Mom in it. I do think, nutty as it sounds, I do believe that your Mom is aware of everyone of those milestones you mentioned. They are out there; sometimes I can feel my Dad right at my shoulder.

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  5. Aww, how sweet my friend – we really should honor our mums when we still have them. I love you going to spend your birthday with her; bet she loved it. Trust you had a lovely day; wishing you many more years ahead in which your kids & grandkids will also honor you with such nice & appreciative gestures. I am on the train heading to work & reading your post & some of the comments got me teary again – loss of my mum about 6 weeks ago is still very raw (I am told it will always be) – as it reminds of the things I will never get to do with her again; but I am glad to see others appreciating & enjoying theirs – good on ya.

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