I tend to spend the evening before my birthday (Birthday Eve, if you will) walking through the dank mist of what ifs and whys. I have chosen to skip that step this year, primarily because something popped out of my mouth today when talking to Nick that made me think. The words formed so naturally and practiced that I have no doubt the idea has always been there, waiting for me to take notice.
I’ve never thought about why my birthday brings such happiness and excitement. I never request presents, but I have a lot of friends who do just that. I don’t expect grand gestures or pretty words, but my family sometimes does just that. My joy has nothing to do with material gain or flattery though: it’s just a reason for me to be giddy…or so I thought.
You see, I keenly remember the day my mother died. The details from the last week of her life creep up upon me in random moments…I can’t get myself to forget. I think that this would be true for any life event that dramatically changed my life. While my mind may not have been able to form lasting memories on the day that I was born, I’ve always been thankful that I was given such a great start…it was great because I had my mom. I was absolutely blessed with that kismet bond. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a gift, but I will be grateful for it until my last breath.
Unrestrained acceptance…that’s what we had…that, and a deep, fathomless friendship. Of course there was love, love is almost always there when I hear people speak about their childhoods fraught with disagreements, resentment, and hurt feelings that they’ve carried into adulthood. The acceptance and friendship weren’t required of my parent, but they made me a better person. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do something so big for another human being or if I even made her life as replete as she made mine, but it is a gift meant to be reciprocated.
So why do I love my birthday so darn much?
I love it because it was the day I first met my mother, and knowing her has defined my life.