Today is my birthday.
For the last week, I’ve been accumulating emails giving me $10 off this, 20% off that, and free breakfast, lunch, and dessert here, there and everywhere. I plan to take advantage of all of them. I also plan to diet tomorrow.
Today’s birthday is also very bittersweet, and I’ve had a heavy heart all week because this is my first birthday since mom died last August.
Mom always sent a birthday card every year without fail. There won’t be a birthday card in the mail today. It’s not that I won’t get a card; it’s that I won’t get a card from her ever again.
We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but mom always made sure each of us kids had a nice birthday cake. Mom didn’t believe in boxed cake mix. She made the cake from scratch. As a kid, I didn’t understand her thinking. As an adult, I’m glad she didn’t use the box mix. The flavor and texture really doesn’t compare, probably because she baked in a lot of love.
Every birthday, she made my favorite white cake and this scrumptious white frosting. The frosting was sweet, a little marshmallowy tasting. Oh yeah, it was good.
One year when we were grocery shopping, we came across these little (maybe ½” height and length) sugar bluebirds, about a dozen in a package, for decorating a cake. Their wings were outstretched, like they were flying. They were beautiful. I asked (okay, more like begged) mom to buy them for my next birthday cake. She did. And when my birthday came, and the cake was baked, and frosted, mom carefully placed each bluebird on the cake. The little me thought it was the most magical thing I’d ever seen. It was almost too pretty too eat. I guess not too pretty, because we ate it. And the little bluebirds were quite delicious.
It’s sorta funny, I honestly thought last Christmas would be hard having her gone, but I was around family and laughing and having a good time, I didn’t think once about being sad as we celebrated her memory.
I’m learning that healing is a process, and there is no end point. Every day gets easier, but there are days the weight of her being gone weighs heavier. Like today.
* * *
I’ve gone through mom’s photos and couldn’t find a single picture of this cake. That’s odd because mom took pictures of EVERY. SINGLE. THING. Cakes, graduation, first communion, first haircut, first day of school, first quarter left by the tooth fairy, first whatever, you get the idea. I’ve even looked online to see if anyone still makes the sugar bluebirds. No luck. Maybe I can’t find the little sugar bluebirds because they were only meant for that one birthday. I’ll never really know.
On the surface, the bluebirds were just a little thing, but in reality, they were a very big thing, and that describes a lot of things mom did for us. Mom left us with some very special memories, and I am grateful for each and every one.
I love you mom. I sure do miss you.