A Birthday Revisited – Originally written May 19, 2008

Today is my birthday. In a few hours Mike will be home and we’ll share a special dinner and I’ll open my present along with the last of the many birthday cards he’d stashed around the house for me to find throughout the day.

My gift has been sitting on the dining table since yesterday afternoon.

“Look,” he whispered, pointing the way as if I’d I get lost between there and the kitchen.

“Wow, what could it be?” I played along, knowing his delight in surprising me.


“Is it a puppy?” I asked wide-eyed with fake anticipation. (Neither one of us would dream of bringing a puppy into our home at this time. We have our hands full already.)

“Nope, guess again.”

It didn’t take me long to convince him I’m a terrible guesser and for the two of us to decide I’d just have to wait to find out what’s in the pretty package wrapped in printed paper suitable for a baby shower.

“It was either that or Christmas paper,” he grinned.

 I like the baby shower paper. Our daughter is expecting her first baby in November and it’s nice to be reminded of the joy to come while celebrating my birthday. I stop to touch it each time I pass by to put another load of laundry in the washer.

 It’s been a busy morning. Dad started pacing at 6:00 AM.  A dream, a memory or something on the news made him anxious. I knew well before I strapped on the blood pressure cuff that the reading would be high. 190/100 was the first reading. After morning meds it dropped a bit to 180/90. A half hour later his standing blood pressure held steady at 156/85. We’ll settle for that. His heart is so damaged that we aim for acceptable, recognizing that optimum is no longer possible.

The bronchitis that plagued him for the last two weeks is finally gone. We both breathe easier now.

While dusting his room I discovered he’d removed the bulb from the lamp on his bedside table and placed it on top of a note he’d written. “The bolb(sic) is still good. The ting that turns on is no good no more. Tell Mike.”

I left a return message for him, promising to let Mike know about the broken “ting” as soon as he gets home. I saw him in there a little while ago, reading the message and nodding his head in approval. Note writing is something new and I don’t know why he chose to tell me about the problem that way but I’ll be watching for more notes in the days to come.  

I had to take a  break from writing when the florist delivered a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers. The colorful mix of variegated tulips, yellow roses, day lilies and hydrangeas are accented by sprigs of a purple flower I can’t identify. It’s from my daughter and son-in-law. The card says, “Happy Birthday, Momma. I love you.” I smile as I read the simple message that says so much.

“Happy Birthday to You,” Dad sang out clearly when I showed him the flowers. Touched, I took his hand in mine and thanked him, tears coming to my eyes. I hadn’t realized he was aware it was my birthday.

“The flowers are very beautiful. Enjoy them while you can,” he said removing his hand from mine. “You may be dead before you birthday comes again.” 

So much for our tender moment.  But he’s right, isn’t he? We  should enjoy each special moment when it comes, recognizing that the future may not be ours to see. So, Happy Birthday to Me. I’m off to smell the roses.


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