Today is my 38th birthday. Obviously, this has not been the best of months for me. In fact, it ranks right up there with December 2011 (my dad’s death) as the worst month of my life.
I went to visit my mom today in the nursing home. I had the chance to overhear her tell a nurse, “It’s my daughter’s birthday today,” even before she saw me. I had to walk her through the significance of July 19th yesterday. Mom was never the type to forget birthdays. Considering everything she’s been through lately, I would have totally understood if she forgot, but it was sweet that she remembered.
Last year, Mom and I visited Dad at the nursing home he was at shortly before my birthday. They sang “Happy Birthday” to me together for the last time. Dad was barely awake but he mumbled through it as best he could. In years past, he would croon like Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra.
Mom was adamant about me getting her purse from her room while we set outside. She said she had “something for my birthday” in there. She wanted something to wrap it in so I gave her my camera case and then she said she wanted to write me a note. I gave her pen and paper and she labored over the brief note.
Mom put a crumpled $20 in the camera case, but it is the note and the photo I took of us that are the gifts that matter the most. Sure, no one wants to spend their birthday visiting their mom in a nursing home. But at least I still have my mom to give me a birthday hug. That’s truly the best gift of all.