Today is my birthday. I am 49 years old and as I jokingly told my husband the other day, I have 365 days left in my forties before they too are completely gone forever. This morning, my mother called me on my birthday at 6 am singing " Happy Birthday" to me before she broke down in tears. All she could talk about was the actual day of my birth. How my grandparents, with whom she was living with because my dad was serving in Vietnam on a submarine, both tried to jump out of the bed at the same from the middle of the bed and all she saw was the flying of arms and legs in their haste. How they left for the hospital and actually left her at home only to have to turn back and come get her. How when the three of them finally got to the hospital, they finally told her that they would carry her suitcase right when she got to the nurses station and she just looked at them as if they had lost their minds. How after I was born, all my grandfather could do was come see her but really just stayed momentarily so he could run back to the nursery to look at me and brag to anyone standing there that I was his granddaughter. How when I finally did come home, all of my aunts and uncles came and had a great party. When my head began to show the bruising effects of the forceps which they used on me during delivery, my mother called the doctor in hysterics, convinced that I was dying. She told me that she never seemed to be able to wake up in time to get me for the midnight feeding because my grandmother was already dealing with me before my mother even realized that I had started crying. How when I was closer to a year old and she was woken my grandparents who would tell her that before they left for work that I had already had breakfast because they would come in, change me, get me dressed and feed me giving me my favorite "coffee" which really was milk with a small spoonful of coffee. My mother never heard a thing and always knew that I was off on some adventure with them in the house. It was a wonderful conversation during the peaceful predawn darkness and and a wonderful birthday present. My mother did many things for me, far too many and too serious to list here, the least of which was giving me life. My mother suffered a stroke several years ago and now has serious health issues. This phone call just made it painfully apparent to me that my birthday calls and her stories of her memories will one day stop. There will be a birthday in my future where I will not receive that phone call on my birthday and hear her singing to me. My mother and I have always had problems in our relationship but now things seem to be better and healed. Until that day arrives, I will cherish my every phone call with her.
Today is also my first wedding anniversary with my husband Safwan. Across from me is our wedding day picture of the two of us with his mother, whom I called mom. We lost her this past November to breast cancer. She was not in my life for long but I miss her and often wish I could speak to her about things. Everyday I come in from work, I walk by that picture and give her a kiss by pressing my fingers to my lips and touching her picture. I miss her a lot more today. I can still see her sitting on her bed when he and I came to see her before we were married and the glowing happiness on her face on our wedding day. I see it every time I look at that picture. She was just transformed that day and I saw it again on March 17 when we had everyone over for our wedding celebration and I have a picture where it is captured on her face. She was happy. I miss her and love her.
Life is so fleeting and our relationships are just so important. We often do not realize just how important we often are to our parents and grandparents and how our actions can make them so happy or hurt them so much. Often we do not see how our very appearance in their lives changes them forever and the sacrifices they make for us without expecting any thanks for it. I was blessed to have parents and grandparents who so obviously loved me without condition. All I had to do was just show up in their lives. I was even more blessed to have Safwan's mom for the short time that I did. I wish it had not taken me 49 years to learn this but it is what it is. Happy birthday to me.
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