Sunday, July 23, 2017

A New Reality at 58 - Embracing My First Birthday Without Mom

This is what 58 looks like!





Last Friday I celebrated my first birthday without my mother. Since it was my 58th birthday  I realize that I’ve been far more blessed than many in that I had my mother for 57 1/2 years. In the early morning hours I lay awake recalling past birthdays with Mom & Dad calling and singing slightly off key, the beautifully thoughtful cards Mom made that incorporated photos or thoughts that resonated, the cake she make for my 10th birthday decorated with astronauts and the lunar module to commemorate the 1969 landing on the moon the night before, and the last birthday gift purchased in a boutique on the walking mall in Winchester, Virginia - a metal rendering of The Tree of Life created by a Haitian artist from an old oil drum.

Fathers Day 2017
Although I experienced a few moments of melancholy bittersweet memories where I fought back tears, I’ve reconciled with my new reality and made the decision to celebrate life, embrace my  good fortune and be kind to myself. 

Celebrating our 11th Wedding Anniversary in Charleston
Earlier in the week I’d attended a management training program outside of Philadelphia and had originally planned to spend Thursday night and drive home Friday morning. But instead I opted to drive home so I could wake up in my own bed with my husband by my side and then sip morning coffee on the deck enjoying the beauty of our back yard and the peace and serenity that fills me when I watch the humming birds at the feeder, the cats chase insects, the butterflies and bees pollinating, and listening to the song of the grasshopper, katydids and cicadas. 

While I’d originally planned to take the afternoon off work my plans were thwarted by the untimely death of my company laptop as it was necessary to ensure that the replacement, which had been inconveniently delayed by a suspiciously non-specific UPS “traffic incident”, had the requisite software and security authorizations before my next trip on Monday.

Loving the wind in my hair - still driving a convertible!
Fortunately, the technology angels were with me and ensured that my week long laptop frustrations had come to a favorable resolution at just the right time - 2:30pm - so that I could enjoy my birthday indulgences: a hot stone massage with lavender aromatherapy and a peppermint scalp massage followed by a pedicure. As the therapist massaged the knots of muscles from my neck, shoulders and upper back with the sounds of soft classical music in the background and the scents of lavender and peppermint in the air, the stresses of life oozed from my pores and I felt at peace with life and the world. 

I still enjoyed the delight of my dad calling and singing Happy Birthday from his new cell phone and listening to him tell me about his trip to the amateur circus in Peru, Indiana with a neighbor - the first time he’d been to the circus since we were kids. My heart smiles when I think how he continues to embrace all that life has to offer despite his losses. 

Civil War Era Machinists Hat by Dirty Billy!
To conclude my celebration of life and indulgence, my inimitable husband decanted an over-the-top bottle of wine from RdV, prepared the broiled-not-fried crab cakes that enticed me to marry him, presented me with cheesecake from Fresh Market, and watched a couple episodes of “The Fall” on Netflix. 


Throughout the day I knew that Mom would have been proud to know she had raised me to be resilient, to appreciate experiences and the people that share our lives instead of things, and to keep on living a joyful life. 
There was an error in this gadget