Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 27 - Bittersweet

Well, today is my oldest's eighth birthday. I am so happy and proud of him. He was up at 4:15 a.m. to open his presents. Typical M. - completely in character for him. I, on the other hand, was up last night till twelve fifteen making his yummy school treats and then I was up just thinking. Yes, sometimes it's a blessing, but most of the time it's a thoughts.

I am so happy for my sweet boy, but as is often the case when I am happy - I am sad as well. Happy for my M. that he is growing up into what I hope is a great boy. Sad for me that I am growing older and ever losing the sweet baby boy that I know. I tell the kids every year, "Enjoy this day. It is the last day that you are going to be (insert whatever age)." They laugh. I don't. It's true. The day passes and you can't ever get it back. It reminds me to live carefully.

I also can't help thinking of mom on birthdays. How careful she was to remember everyone's birthday and send them a card. One time (or possibly more than one time) she told me, "You need to always remember to send your siblings a birthday card. It's such a great way to show your love for them." She was so smart about those kinds of things. If any of my siblings are reading this remember that I am not that smart or organized - so you can go on not expecting a card from me but just knowing I love you. ;o)

As I lay in bed last night I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. My thoughts wandering to mom and how she and dad would call every birthday of anyone in my house and sing to us. So sappy, yet so sweet and predictable in a completely comforting way. The last birthday in my house was Ed's. November 23rd. No call on Ed's birthday. As she had already been dead for three days. Of course my mind went back to the day of Ed's birthday when I wandered half asleep (from days in the hospital and then days of new grief) out to the mailbox which hadn't been checked in a while. The kids were playing in the cul-de-sac as I checked the mail. On top was a card. I immediately recognized my mother's handwriting on the front of the card. "Eddie DeLaCruz." The tears filled my eyes right away. I checked the postmark and it was mailed the day she died. Soon I was holding this huge pile of mail and sobbing. Trying not to sit down right there at the mailboxes.

I got back in the house with the kids screaming, "Mom, what's wrong??? Why are you crying???" Ed knew as soon as he walked in the door that something had happened. "What's up?" "Go look on the table," I managed. He opened the card. Mom had written in her precise cursive something like - to a great son-in-law, father, and husband. We love you and hope you have a happy birthday. Had she only known. Curiously what was printed on the card said something like, "Birthdays are a way to remember the people who love or have loved you." So, maybe she did know.

Well, there will be no phone call from ma today to wish bubby a happy birthday. But, Bubby opened his great card from sweet, sweet grandpy this morning. He asked me how grandpy left the card since he was in Michigan. I told him that grandpy gave it to me right before he left so that Malcolm would have it on his birthday. It was kind of strange seeing dad's writing on the card instead of mom's. The message was the same - full of love. Bubby was so happy. Eight shiny new dollars. Of course, that made him happy.

Birthdays have changed for good.

I will have to get used to this....and it may take a while.

1 comment:

Jae said...

First, Happy HAPPY birthday Malcolm! I remember seeing you, as a TINY lil' guy down at the park for some event or other ... you were WEE, with lots of hair, and cute as can be! :)

Second, I got tingles reading that your mom had sent Eddie a card just before she passed away. That's so wonderful and sweet. She was a smart woman. I think cards are great - just wish I could be as thoughtful and remembering (that a word?) as she was. I used to be, B.C. (before children); now I'm happy if I remember to send an email. Maybe it's something you get better at as your children grow? We can hope.