Today is my 42nd Birthday!!! Yea!!! So, I thought I would celebrate and reminisce a bit about birthday’s past and make a few resolutions for the coming year. Join me, won’t you?
Of all my birthday pictures growing up, this is one of my favorites. It’s the only time in my life when a double chin, poochy belly, cottage cheese booty and thunder thighs were considered cute. Ahhhh to be ONE again!
Speaking of body image…It’s time. I must do better with my exercise and diet. Both my Grandmother’s were gone by 75 from cancer and heart disease. So I have waisted enough time trying to deal with life emotionally through chocolate therapy. A new plan is on it’s way!
In my family of eight birthday’s were a HUGE big honkin deal. We received gifts three times a year, birthday’s, Christmas and our Easter baskets. That’s it. No trips to Border’s or Macy’s other than for school clothes in September. We lived very frugally. Life was simple and full of adventure. Anyway, the BIG birthday’s were when we turned 5, 13 and 18. On these years we got a big party or would do something extra special. When I was five, we had a clown that did balloon animals. Pretty cool. My favorite though was when I was 13. I had my first slumber party. It was a comedy of errors. Mom ordered a six foot sub from the deli and all my friends showed up with their new braces. No one could eat the bread. Then we watched Love Boat re-runs until late in the night and Mom forgot to get out the birthday cake. So at 2 am I snuck into my parent’s room to get permission to have the cake. She was mortified that she forgotten the cake. My friends thought she was the coolest mother on the planet because we had ice cream cake at 2 am. Then we sprayed my brothers with perfume while they slept. Awesome! I was popular for a whole week after that!
When I was 16, my parents financial situation was very tenuous. Major repairs to the house, a new “used” car, braces etc. had tapped them out. There was no money for gifts that year. Mom was very creative. She decided to go with humor so she gave “gag” gifts. I got a PacMan necklace from a cereal box and a “parasol” umbrella. Most of my friends were getting flowers delivered to school and new cars. I was mortified that Mom thought this was a time to be “funny”. I had no idea about the financial crunch. My parents protected us from that. They wanted us to be children as long as possible. I was so hurt and angry, I ran to my room and cried my eyes out. I cringe when I think of how selfish I was. Mom came to my room later that evening with another present in her hands. She sat on my bed and slipped a box into my hands.
She said with tears in her eyes “You left the table before you opened all your gifts. I know that this was not the birthday you wanted but it’s the best I could give you. I hope that one day you will look back on this day with fondness. I love you Mary Beth more than any gift could ever express. This is from me to my eldest daughter, my first little girl. Wear it well.”
She hugged me and left. I carefully opened up the box and inside was a sterling silver bracelet with an intricate lace pattern woven between two solid rims. It took my breath away. It was stunning! Inside the box there was a note. It read:
“To my dearest daughter Marianne. This bracelet reminded me of you, delicate yet strong. May your 16th birthday bring you as much joy as you have brought your Father and I.
With our deepest Love,
Mother and Dad
April 2, 1956″
It was my Mother’s, given to her on her 16th birthday by my Grandparents. It was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe that Mom thought I was “old” enough to wear something so special. I rushed to the kitchen and hugged my Mom thanking her. She took my face in her hands and told me that today I became a young lady and I was both “delicate and strong”. I wear it every year on my birthday. It reminds me of my parents great self-sacrifice and unconditional love for me even in the most difficult years.
When I turned 18, it was legal to drink in DC. So my Father drove me into the city and took me to dinner. He purchased my first drink for me, a white wine spritzer. I know, gutsy first drink!. I felt like such a grown-up. I thought that I would never love any man as much as I would love my Dad. And yes, I still drink white wine spritzers…and Margarita’s… and lemon drop martinis.
The first time I ever received flowers was on my 20th birthday. My soon to be husband sent 20 long stem red roses to my home accompanied by the most beautiful poem. I wept. I couldn’t believe anyone would care for me enough to be so extravagant. My husband continue that tradition to this day. Each birthday no matter what our financial situation there are flowers and a love letter. I am blessed indeed.
The first time my children brought me “breakfast in bed” for my birthday, the plate contained blue pancakes, runny eggs, chopped banana’s and a birthday crown made with glue and glitter. They sang “Happy Birfday” loudly and off key. I had never seen or heard anything so wonderful in my life. Jonathan was four and Courtney had just turned one. They sat on the bed with me and we ate our scrumptious yummies. What a memory!
This years celebration will be another for the memory books. With a call from #1 son in Ohio, surrounded by my honey, my daughter, my best friend and her family, I know there will be awesome food, raucous laughter and many new memories. I can’t wait!
Blessings and Grace,
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