Sunday, December 29, 2013
Holiday Birthday Thoughts
Mother went into labor December 28, 1950, after shoveling snow; she gave birth December 29, and never afterward could remember which day was the actual birthday of her oldest child. That's me.
I was something of a surprise in a number of ways. She shared with me that my younger sister Mary was her only planned child, so I know that. She also told me that I was due on Groundhog's Day, February 2. She may have just miscalculated, or it might have been that shoveling. She said she chose to name me Sherry because it was an unusual name, though there were several girls in school at the same time as I was with some variation on Sherry or Cheryl. It seems to have faded from favor since then. My middle name, Ellen, was chosen to honor my aunt, and also my great grandmother, who went by Nellie.
When I was little having a birthday between Christmas and New Year was just fine, and it fueled an unattractive greed in me for toys. Once I started school I liked it that I was always on vacation on my birthday, and friends from school or church were usually available for a sleepover or little gathering. I vaguely remember one where we played Twister and messed with an Ouija Baord. It didn't really dawn on me that most of my gifts were practical - warm clothes, sweaters, mittens, boots. I was happy if I had boxes to unwrap.
But over time having a late December birthday became less wonderful. The older I got, the fewer people were around to celebrate. It gradually dawned on me that I never got cards at any other time of year except December, that it was always cold (something that I do not celebrate) and often roads are treacherous on my day, that people were stuffed from all the Christmas food and saving their calories for New Year's Eve. Once I was married, Mother usually wanted to have me open my gifts on Christmas Eve, the time our family has always gotten together and exchanged our gifts. I bristled for a while, and finally gave in, as long as I could go to a room where the Christmas tree was not.
She's gone now, and I regret that I wasn't more gracious about the date of my birth. I wish I could give her a hug and tell her thank you for a fine life, but that just ain't gonna happen. I just have to concentrate on being nice to the people in my life right now. My dear husband gave me a shoe box this morning with frozen lobster tails inside, and I will just have to think about when I want to have them. Several friends took me to breakfast on Friday, which was fun, and I think about fifty people have sent me birthday wishes on Facebook. All just fine. The lobsters are still in the freezer, but we'll have a fine feast anyway - a monster stuffed pizza from Tony and Maria's. Tonight, tonight... Life is good.