Saturday, October 10, 2015

Birthdays in the great Beyond


Happy Birthday, mom!

Today you would be 77. I think you would have liked that number, liked the way it sounded though it would have surprised you that you were actually "that old". But instead of celebrating here with us, you are in heaven. It's only your second birthday there so that must make you feel a little bit younger. The whole "renewed body" trade-in, must add tremendously to one's youthful glow. You also have a few new friends there to celebrate with this year. Judy's there now which is still so impossible to believe. I'll bet you were so surprised to see her arrive in mid-June, as we were to see her leave the party here. But I'm equally sure you have had a big time catching up and showing her around the place. We're fine here. We really are. We miss you terribly and sometimes, even still, I think to call you to see how you are. Fortunately I stop myself before dialing the phone since I already know how you are. New, restored, healed, whole.

I'm really glad I don't complete those calls since the ringing phone would only send dad racing for it before it had a chance to ring the second time. Remember how he used to do that? How you would tease him that it was not a footrace to put the receiver to his ear before it had a chance to ring more than once. He still loves the phone more than anyone else I know, and that's a good thing. Just means he's well connected to lots of loving people and dear friends. He's doing fine. He really is. You'd be so proud of him. We sure are.

The girls and I talk about you a lot. I'm making sure they know you, mom. I promised myself I would, and I am. I'll turn anything into an opportunity for them to learn a little more about you. "You know who loved chocolate cake?" "Granny did," I tell them. Or we'll be making a plan for a vacation and I'll tell them about how you loved to travel and used to count down the days and carefully laid out things to pack a week before you left. They're getting to know you, even still. Sometimes they'll bring up facts about you before I have the chance to. Emerson will say, "Granny loved to sing," and I'll let her know how right she is. She loves to sing, too. Maybe the gift of a beautiful voice really does skip a generation and she's the recipient of your talent once removed. She loves to travel too, that girl. She definitely has the wanderlust you and I shared. Remember when she was brand new and you came to visit us in Minnesota? It was your birthday. It was your 67th birthday ten years ago today.

We went out to lunch to celebrate and I reluctantly left that two and a half month old baby with my friend Jean so we could go to Enjoy for lunch. I remember not being entirely engaged sitting across the table from you. I was anxious without Emerson right on my lap as she had been for the sixty plus consecutive days before. I remember how the waitress asked if we wanted dessert and in my mind I was hoping you would say no.  I wanted to go home, to get back to her. But you said yes and we sat there longer than I wanted to. I wish I would have savored our time. I wish I would have been fully present and realized baby girl was more than fine at home with Jean---that you would not be fine for much longer. That soon you wouldn't know how to order dessert, or walk alone, or know just exactly who I was. I'm sorry about that. About all of it. Sorry that I was distracted that day, sorry that you got sick. I really am. I have learned so much since then though. Truly. I now sit and savor every moment.

I'm learning that there's nothing more important than being fully present right where I am. I get the brevity of this life. I kind of wish I didn't, but I do, and I am grateful for that.

I wish you such a Happy Birthday. A day of celebration and time to linger at the table with loved ones surrounding you who are fully engaged in the celebration. Loved ones who have no concerns about what's going on away from that table. Order dessert, two even! Enjoy it all, savor it all, I'll sit with you as long as you like when I get there.



9 Comments so far - Add yours!

  1. This: "The girls and I talk about you a lot. I'm making sure they know you, mom. I promised myself that I would and I am. I'll turn anything into an opportunity for them to learn a little more about you." So powerful. We are their legacy.

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    1. Thanks, Lauren. It's true that we are just that. <3

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  2. Goosebumps, then laughter, then tears. Wow. What a beautiful Birthday blessing on your mama. No doubt she's showing it off around heaven a bit!

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    1. I love the image of her bragging me up in heaven--something she would definitely do! <3

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  3. Goosebumps, then laughter, then tears. Wow. What a beautiful Birthday blessing on your mama. No doubt she's showing it off around heaven a bit!

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  4. Melinda, this is so beautiful. I wish I had any kind of relationship with my mother. I wish it was like this. Thank you for the reminder though. I may not have a relationship with my mother, but I can be the kind of mother that my kids want to have a relationship with, and savor every moment with them.

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  5. Deanna,
    Thank you for your kind words. A girl needs her mom at any age and it saddens me to hear that your relationship with your mom is fractured. Yet I understand that when humans are involved, it gets complicated. :/ I love that your takeaway is to savor your time with your kids and to be the mom they need you to be.

    Thank you for the comment and for stopping here. I hope you'll come again:) So happy to have you.

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  6. Melinda… savoring seems to be your gift to share lately, and I'm so thankful for that. Being fully present is such a lost art these days, and I'm glad for the reminder. I, too, have made efforts over the years to bring my mom into the picture. My kids were so young when she passed, and I want to make sure she's a part of their lives. Your mother sounded lovely. I know this because of who you are… a sweet legacy of your momma.
    For the life of me, I couldn't get your blog to accept my wordpress identity. So this isn't anonymous, it's Kimberly.

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    1. So kind, Kimberly. Thank you! She really was lovely and I do miss her. I'm so glad you've made efforts to bring your mom into your kid's picture too.

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