Yesterday would have been my mom's fifty-eighth birthday.
As you might imagine, it was a day of mixed emotions for me.
My mom really never liked where her birthday fell on the calendar. She always said that it was after the holidays, people were hung-over and out of money and (a lot of times) had to go back to work after vacation. She always wanted to move it to the first week of May or June. The weather is better and people are usually in a better mood.
This week, however, has been a challenge to me for a while now, though. My grandparents, my mom's parents, both died on January 6, two years apart from each other. I never really got to know my dad's parents; I honestly cried more when my dog died than when my grandfather did. My mom's parents, however, were different.
They lived close to us and we saw them all the time. Especially my grandfather. He had raised five daughters proudly, but I was told he looked forward to having me as something close to a son. He taught me how to play golf, made everyone laugh all the time and was just a great guy to have as a grandfather. I still miss him and my grandmother.
Ever since my grandmother died in 2002 and then my grandfather in 2004, this was a really sad week for my mom, her sisters and the whole family. Me and my brother and my dad did our best to keep Mom's spirits up, but we knew that that only went so far. She was going to be sad and down and that was it. I now know how she felt.
We never, even before her parents died, did anything extravagant for my mom's birthday. We would go out to dinner, have some cake at the house and just talk. This fact, I think, says a lot about the sort of person that my mom was. Not fussy, not extravagant, just wanted her family around. My mom always prided herself on the fact that she was a "cheap date," although I'm sure my dad would have gladly spent his last dime on her if that's what she wanted. Her birthday was no different.
It was things like this that made my mom the special person that she was. History will not note nor long remember this one person, but I sure as hell will. On her birthday, she just wanted us to be there.
And, really, isn't that the best things about moms? They understand that the most important thing is being there.
Yesterday we went to the same place we always went, ordered from the same menu and had a good meal as always. It could not, however, have been more different. I get the feeling that we will continue to do this, but that it will never be the same.
So, Happy Birthday, Mom. I miss you and I will always love you.
That's something that will never change.
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