I’m breaking with tradition this year. It’s my birthday today, and I’m not going to ignore it!
I decided it on my walk this morning. (Walk, not run, because my now forty-four-year-old left ankle is still bothering me…)
I usually ignore my birthday for all the unoriginal reasons. I don’t like attention, and I am now (to quote my high school friend – you know who you are) mega-old. Completely middle-aged, and a full-on ajumma.
But this is what I realized this morning: I’m 44 years old today, but not even three months old as a mother who has suffered the ultimate loss. At times, I have felt like I was a million (the PICU is a super-ager, and I have done my time.) So really, why does it matter?
It matters, because Julianna only got five birthdays. It matters because life here is short and unpredictable, and we should celebrate when we have things to celebrate. And even when it seems like we don’t have anything to celebrate…we do. So celebrate it anyway.
I wondered what today would be like, my first birthday as Julianna’s mom – without Julianna. She would have made a card for me. (Rather, she would have directed someone to make the card, but the message would have been all hers). Maybe she would have given me another doll. (She had a hard time grasping the fact that Homie only bought me ONE Barbie. She found it cruel. And it was, mom, it was. A child cannot live on books alone…)
Julianna gave me so many gifts. Today, her gift is reminding me, yet again, that life is to be celebrated. And we gotta do it — with humor and style.
Here’s the humor:
Earlier this year…
I am looking at one of Julianna’s fancy dollhouses. It came from a book, and it’s made of cardboard, but it’s intricate and beautiful. I don’t have any pictures of it, but it was this one.
M: Wow, Julianna. This is so cool. We didn’t have stuff like this when I was your age.
J: looks surprised. Did you not have stores?
And the style:
I don’t know what we did on my birthday last, year, but this was Julianna exactly one year ago. She’s with Korean Barbie , Michelle Kwan Barbie and Make-A-Wish Barbie.
And because gifts are better shared:
A dear friend of a dear friend created this amazing portrait of Julianna. She used my favorite picture (Julianna thought that she looked her “prettiest” here), and absolutely nailed it. I think that this is what she looks like in heaven.
A hand-cut creation by Oscar’s Printshop. I think that her work is beautiful.
Me: Isn’t this cool?
Steve: examines it and nods. Is that the poem I read, the one by that man…
Me: It was me! I wrote that!!