What matters most on birthdays

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.

Mom and I at the nursing home on my birthday.

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.

“To Joy on her 38th birthday with more love than I could ever express. You are so loved and special. Love much from Mom.”

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.


Filed under Memories

3 responses to “What matters most on birthdays

  1. I stumbled here a while back and keep up with your posts. Happy Birthday! Your mom’s note made me cry. All the best to the both of you.

  2. Pingback: A solo performance | The Memories Project

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