Suddenly, it's my birthday month - another year has come and gone and I don't feel any older. That's a good thing, right? Last year I celebrated a milestone birthday and had fun with family and friends, but this year will be a bit more subdued. That's not because it's the way I want it, but because there's not much I can do these days as I am STILL waiting for a surgery date. So what did this past year bring into my life? Let's get the "not so good" out of the way. There was a death (my Dad at age 86) and the diagnosis that surgery is needed to repair my lower spine. Also, my church disbanded.
However, the good vastly outweighs the bad. My younger daughter moved into her first apartment, has been successful in both her health and her job, and our relationship is better than it's ever been. My older daughter delivered a healthy baby girl in March. My son-in-law got a better paying and more secure job. I have several students that I tutor out of my home. I reached the 50 lbs lost mark! Friends from the United Kingdom came to visit and we had such fun. And I think I may have found another church to attend.
In our journey through life there are both high and low tides. Occasionally, we might experience moments of sheer bliss, but there are also those moments of sadness and loneliness. This is one of the times during the year when I can become a bit morose because my late husband never forgot my birthday - after the first year of our marriage.
It was Oct. 6, 1973, and I came home from work expecting Brian to greet me with a card, a gift, maybe some flowers and even dinner out (or at least take-out, since we didn't have much money). But as I walked in the door, he said something like, "Hi Sweetie! What's for dinner tonight?" Well, I thought he was kidding as I looked around the apartment and at him sitting there watching TV.
"Oh, yeah, Happy Birthday," he said as he continued watching TV.
"That's it?" I asked, incredulous.
He looked at me questioningly.
"Um, yeah." He suddenly looked a bit wary.
I burst into tears.
Apparently, in his family there had been no big deal made out of birthdays. No gifts. No parties. No special meal. No balloons. His mother would put a card at their place at the dinner table and that was it.
So I pulled myself together, got my purse and the car keys and drove down to the Safeway. I bought steaks, potatoes to bake with all the trimmings, and salad stuff. I bought myself a beautiful birthday cake and candles, some balloons, and some flowers. Oh, and I also picked up a bottle of wine.
I went home, set the table, cooked the dinner, blew up the balloons, opened the wine, and invited him to sit down to dinner. As we were eating, he commented on how nice everything was. And a month later, for his birthday I did the same thing. He liked it.
I said, "This is how we celebrate birthdays."
And from then on, we made a big deal out of each other's (and our children's) birthdays.
He may be gone now and even though I don't talk about him very much, he's never far from my thoughts. I just thought I'd share this little story of my first birthday with him as his wife. Please laugh - because that's what we did afterwards.