happy birthday to a courageous voice on a perfect day

one year I sent my mother flowers on my birthday, because really, it was her birthing day.

i am at the beach with her.  we are walking and talking.  remembering and ruminating.   sitting on the porch swing in the morning sunshine i said to her those things that have been tucked deep in my heart.

“Thank you for giving me life.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for fighting for me.  Thank you mama, for being the one who held on and the one who let me go to make my own choices to live my life.”


i am not known for celebrating my birthday.  i slip into the background, not the center.  i am notorious for forgetting birthdays ~ my children, my parents, my friends.  somewhere along the line i just couldn’t figure out why in the world my birth would be cause of celebration.  i didn’t do anything.  i was just born.  i showed up.  my mother did all the work and to hear her tell the story, it was a painful experience of loneliness and isolation, one often common to women in those days.

introspection comes with growing, both older and wiser, turning 61 or 82.  it comes with the realization that my mother will not always be here.

a prolific knitter she speaks of thread or string ~ slowly unravelling, her awareness of the end of her yarn and that others will need to carry on the thread ~ wondering if anyone will.  baskets of yarn and needles and unfinished cotton dishcloths, grandchildren’s unfinished afghans and half knit sweaters are tucked in the corners of her rooms.

these days at the beach are a priceless gift.  i gladly move to the center and stand on the porch with her, facing east with our arms wide open to receive the remarkable gifts of clear, star studded skies ~ endless laughter and d.e.e.p. tears ~ the resident heron ~ ½ price senior meals ~ long beach walks ~ one more glorious sunrise ~ a precocious otter ~ lingering tea time with honey and lemon.

and ~ new matching red birthday shoes.