May 31, 2007
My real estate business was plummeting at a high rate of speed. The death rattle knocking at my door. I was physically and emotionally drained from worrying.
I got up early and tried to look up new stuff on the computer and re-research the old printouts piled up on the side of the computer.
I gave up work and spent the rest of the morning running around for flowers, balloons, cake and put together a gift bag of Mother’s favorite goodies. I also found new things for her to try – it was the only way I could think of to surprise her.
It was Mother’s big birthday today. She was 85 years old and I was going to celebrate and make it a good time for her no matter how badly I felt.
I was exhausted before I got ready to go pick her up and fought putting on make-up and doing my hair. My mood was too morose for celebration but I couldn’t let Mother down today.
I hurried down to the restaurant and Carrie Kenyon, our favorite server helped me hang the balloons and arrange a vase of pinkish-red long-stemmed roses at the head of mom’s favorite table.
I picked mom up shortly after noon and we drove down to the beach. We parked the car and made into the restaurant shortly before the big lunch crowd started arriving.
Carrie came running from across the other side of the restaurant to greet us yelling, “Happy Birthday to my favorite second mom!!”
When Mother saw the decorated table and the pretty flowers that greeted her the look on her face was priceless.
“Oh, honey, you shouldn’t have…but I’m glad you did,” she said, beaming.
We took our time and ordered three-pound market priced lobsters with French fries and coleslaw.
We chatted and noshed on saltine crackers and cocktail sauce while we waited for our meal.
It arrived soon after and it looked divine.
I watched Mother dive into her lobster and chomp on her fries. It erased all the pain I’d felt all morning, seeing her gobble down the delicate meat, butter dripping down her chin, totally immersed in her task of finishing everything on her plate.
It was hard to imagine that just over a year ago she had suffered so with her heart. By electing the surgery we bought extra time, something we thankfully never took for granted. Right then I loved her so much it hurt.
After lunch Carrie brought the lit cake out and the entire restaurant sang happy birthday to her. She basked in the attention and blew out the candles with 85 years of force, making a wish only she was privy to.
After we got home she opened everything in her bag and loved each item, exclaiming over the new things I’d chosen to try.
“You thought of everything, sweetheart, I can’t thank you enough for such a wonderful day. I can’t believe I made it to 85 years old.”
“Well, thank God you did, and we’ll have many more,” believing will all my heart we would, but knowing in my mind she could still die at any moment. I shook off the thought and concentrated on staying in the joyful moments of celebrating.
“You know dad’s birthday is in four days, can we buy some flowers for the grave?”
“Of course,” I said, “Where are we going to celebrate his birthday?”
Mother laughed with delight. “It’s an excuse for another outing precious, we’ll eat wherever you like.”
“Mom, I was just kidding!”
(Dad had died years ago but each year (since) we celebrate the birthday honoring his memory and the family days once removed.)
We chattered a bit more and then I kissed her goodbye and walked out the door. As I moved down the sidewalk and turned around one more time to take a last peek at her. She was standing outside the door waving and blowing kisses, “I love you, thanks again for the best day ever,” she called out loudly.
I blew a kiss back to her and kept on walking; realizing just how much pep had come back in my step, grateful we celebrated life one more time and all was right with the world.
Sweet dreams Mama, R I P (I must carry on. You will always hold a place in my heart.) We truly were soul sisters.