Happy birthday, mom.
This is the first one without you here and it’s weird… I don’t like it.
In my forty-six years in this world I have spent far more of your birthdays celebrating you long distance, than with you. I never loved that either because we all know how much I love a good birthday celebration. Even in those times though, I could send you overpriced cards, floral arrangements, stuffed animals, jewelry, sweet treats, and all the things you loved.
This year I’m at a loss.
I’ve been trying to recall your voice recently… not the one you spoke with, but the things you’d say before Alzheimer’s ravaged your mind and locked you away. How would that version of you encourage me to honor you today?
What would she say?
One thing I know for certain is that you were always sentimental and held on to lost ones much tighter than you held on to those of us still here… Honoring you would not be to just let today be another day.
Yesterday my good friend Maggie released her first novel, and this evening we’re having a launch party to celebrate this massive success. You’d love Maggie if you were sitting in a room with her because she’s strong and funny, but also once that was over you’d find reasons not to like her because she’s a woman and you really struggled with the whole idea of women supporting other women. I’m sorry you lived a life like that. Now that I know what the otherside of that looks like I can only imagine how truly lonely you felt–always pushing women away and convincing yourself you had to compete with them.
Compete with us…
Compete with me.
You never had to. I wish you’d known–truly known.
In just over two months our story comes out, mine and yours. You’d both love and hate that in all sorts of ways. Even in the ugliest bits of truth, I have always loved you.
Here or not, that will never change.
Happy birthday, mom. Here’s to purple flowers, a banana milkshake, dragonflies, and knowing this will be the first birthday you’ve ever spent not wrapped in bitterness or sadness.