Posted in Birthdays

Happy Birthday to Me: Celebrating a Special Birthday at Home During the Pandemic

There are a lot of sayings about getting older — “Age is only a number.” “You’re only as old as you feel.” “You’re not getting older,  you’re getting better.” “Aging is better than the alternative.”

People spend time and money trying to avoid getting old. They work out at gyms, eat healthy food, meditate, and avoid habits that can age and harm them such as smoking, but you can’t stop the clock. Still, it’s true that people age differently because of a variety of factors due to genetics, environment, and social attitudes. They say people who attend church, have a network of close friends, keep  physically and mentally active, have hobbies that they enjoy and that relaxes them, and are pet owners are less likely to suffer from chronic illness and have a lower rate of heart attacks and strokes. However, each year we move closer to that final curtain. So “Happy birthdays” tend to be less happy after you’ve grown up. So why do people continue to celebrate birthdays? We all know that you don’t have to be old to die. Just check out the dates on headstones in any cemetery. We also know that life is too short even if you attain a ripe old age.

This year is a special birthday for me, and I plan to celebrate it in a special way even though I won’t be traveling somewhere exotic, having a big party, or even going out to eat in a nice restaurant. Because of COVID 19, I’ll be staying home with my husband, daughter, and cats. We’ll have food and a cake delivered. We might play a few games, watch a TV show or movie, or just talk. The main thing is that we’re all doing okay and are able to be together.

Me with my friend, Clare in 2016 in the Milleridge Village near the holidays.

A few weeks ago, I learned a long-time friend of mine passed away from Covid-19. Clare was a decade older than me and had diabetes and heart issues. She’d been in a rehab after a stroke but was getting better and would’ve been released if she hadn’t caught the virus. She’d survived heart attacks and a minor stroke, but she was no match for the Coronavirus. I miss her very much.

My wedding photo. (1992)
My graduation from L.I.U./C.W. Post and the Palmer School of Library and Information Science. (1989)
Proof that I was a cat lover even at 6 years old. (1966)
My High School graduation with my older brother, Jack, and my dad. (1978)

Birthdays are times to plan the years ahead and also to look back at those that have passed. Our lives are a series of chapters, much like a book. We’re born, spend our childhood learning and growing, graduate from school, work, sometimes marry and have a family along the way, and then retire, and die (not necessarily in that order). I’ve been lucky to have done all that except the last two during my 60 years on this planet.

So as I blow out the candles on my cake on Saturday, I’ll be thankful for another year that passed and hopefully the next one to come. The only wish I’ll make is for an end to the virus that has changed the world and for a new beginning. I’ll wish that my family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances stay healthy and safe. That’s what will make this birthday happy.

Posted in Monday Blog

How did you celebrate Mother’s Day?

momdebbieMother’s Day has always been a special holiday for me even before I became a mother because my birthday lands on it about every seven years. My husband’s birthday, two days later, is the same way. I guess we were both special Mother’s Day gifts to our mothers when we were born. I arrived the day after Mother’s Day on Monday, the 9th of May. I recall my mother saying I just missed being in the newspaper as a Mother’s Day baby. My older brother tells me there was snow on the ground that day, although most of the birthdays I remember were rainy. This year my day is predicted to be nice after a week of rain.

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momsdaybowlMy daughter painted me a pretty bowl for Mother’s Day, and my husband bought me an Apple Watch that is also part of my birthday present. He made waffles for breakfast and cooked dinner. I also received a beautiful vase of flowers from both of them. I visited with my mother and brought her some candy and a basket of flowers in her favorite purple color from all of us.

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Me and My Second mom, my Mother-in-law, Carol

I am blessed to have had two mothers in my life and also to be a mother when there was a time I never believed that would happen. My mother-in-law, Carol, to whom I dedicated my book, A Stone’s Throw, passed away from Cancer two years ago. She was a wonderful lady, and I considered her my second mother. I still miss her greatly. I remember how much she helped me after my daughter was born and was always there for me. Like my own mother, she was only 17 when she married and did not have an easy life, but she raised five kids and had many grandchildren and a few great grandchildren when she passed away too young at 71. My mother just turned 88. She’s in a nursing home but doing well so far despite being confined to a wheelchair and suffering from dementia.

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My beautiful baby, Holly, in her Christening dress
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My lovely daughter, Holly at 11

My daughter came along when I had despaired of ever becoming a mother. My husband and I waited a long time before we decided to have children because we married late but were still establishing our careers and paying off college loans. By the time it seemed right to start a family, some obstacles stood in our way. I became pregnant a few times but miscarried each baby. The first one required a D & C because the heart beat had stopped after nearly 8 weeks, but my body wouldn’t let the fetus go. Neither could my heart. In my sorrow, I found the strength to try again. After another miscarriage, this one earlier and not as traumatic, I questioned if I should keep pursuing my dream of motherhood.

Each Mother’s Day that passed was painful when I saw other mothers with their children. Then, miraculously, I became pregnant again. I was so afraid something would go wrong. When I started bleeding just two months into the pregnancy, I thought for sure I’d lose the child again. My doctor assured me it was normal and that all was well. Seven months later, my water broke unexpectedly one morning the week before Halloween. I panicked fearing that it was too soon when my baby wasn’t expected until early December. Luckily, my daughter was born healthy at almost 5 pounds. She had to stay in the hospital for ten days, but we were assured she was fine. She’s nearly a teenager now and taller than I am.

debbiemomhollyeditedWhile I’m thankful for my Mother’s Day gifts, I’m more thankful for the love and memories, for the time I can share with my mother and my daughter. That’s what I celebrate most on Mother’s Day and all year long.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Monday Blog

What do you think I want for my birthday?

Happy BirthdayIt happens every year. Before my birthday, I know a dozens gifts I can use, but as the time to celebrate grows closer, I can’t think of one thing that I actually want. My husband, a last-minute shopper who nevertheless likes to present me with gifts early, starts to email me links to suggestions a month before.

This year, as that special day approaches on May 9th, he proposed buying me an Apple Watch because he thinks I would like one. He offered to take me shopping to look at some, and I agreed. But, before committing, I considered other things I might want instead. After all, Apple watches aren’t cheap and, although I’m worth the expense one day a year, there might be something even better I might like.

I rack my brain but, of course, I come up with nothing. Sure, I could use anything to do with writing which is my current passion. I already purchased myself a gift, the “Get a Book Deal 101” course given by Kathy Ver Eecke that I hope will help me land an agent for my work-in-progress. I can always use new clothes, especially since I’ve gone down ten sizes and lost over 60 pounds since last year on Jenny Craig. It’s probably best then that I avoid my favorite Black Forest birthday cake, but maybe I can splurge on a healthful dinner at Seasons 52, a restaurant my husband and I had dinner at for our anniversary last July and vowed to try again but have yet to do so.  Speaking of food, it just so happens I’ve been invited by a co-worker to a lunch buffet at an Kiran Palace, an Indian restaurant, on my birthday. Since it’s a cuisine I have yet to sample, I’m looking forward to a new culinary experience. Maybe I can check it off my bucket list. That night I’ll be attending a concert when my daughter sings in the chorus for the Middle School concert.

So what else would I want for my birthday? Another year of good health is always welcome. Enough money to pay my bills is also nice. My pre-teen daughter talking to me for more than five minutes and agreeing with just one thing I say would be awesome. Even cooler would be her dad taking me out for a date night. If I think bigger, winning the lottery would be a super gift. Being able to control time so I have just as much as I need to complete everything I want and need to do would be another perfect present. Getting on the New York Times Bestseller list would be the icing on my cake.

Fantasies aside, I really have everything I need already, but I’ll try the Apple Watch, anyway. By the way, my husband’s birthday is just two days after mine, but I’m not asking him what he wants.

Here  are a few links to birthday gift ideas for those who are stumped as to what to give their spouses, parents, friends, or even what to ask for themselves:

From the Dallas South News: http://www.dallassouthnews.org/2013/04/01/5-most-common-birthday-gifts/

From dgreetings: http://www.dgreetings.com/gift-ideas/birthday-gifts/for-friends.html

DIY birthday gift ideas from Topdreamer: http://www.topdreamer.com/23-diy-birthday-gift-ideas/