The Best Birthday
Dear Doris and Jill –
You asked me to write about my best birthday celebration ever.
Your wish is my command.
Mostly because I still have 62 candles’ worth when this one’s fulfilled.
Your question has made me think. Certainly, one of the best must be the one captured above, where I was celebrating my second birthday with my first best friend and big sister Marilyn. Sue was not yet a glimmer. And Gary was probably off climbing trees or swimming in the farm pond or–his specialty–tossing rocks in fresh cow piles, mesmerized by the splash. (My father was not impressed and retaliated, but that’s another story.) Anyway, this sweet summertime was the “normal” my family held onto when I became seriously ill a few weeks later and hope was in short supply. “Normal” is a great gift.
Or maybe the best one was when I turned five. We had just moved from the tiny little house on Highway 2–within 100 feet of where your office desk is now, Jill–to the Buffalo Farm north of Promise City. Marilyn Sue Snook, Kathy and Ray Roberts and Marvin Tuttle were all invited to the party, for we would enter kindergarten that fall. It was hot, dry and the farmers weren’t sure there would be crops if rain didn’t start falling. It did during my party, and I remember the smiles on the grownups’ faces. Relief is a great gift.
Or perhaps it was one of those many years in the 1960s when the Thompson, Snook, Tuttle, Kilbourn and Close families met at the park in Centerville for my birthday picnic. Friends are a super gift.
Or was it June 1984, when tiny Kate was out of the NICU? Or June 1999, when I had finally graduated from college (just 29 years, baby!) Or 2000, when Al and Tony Bennett treated me to a 50th birthday concert at Fiddlers and only one sang? Or 2002, when Kate and her friends hosted my birthday lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in Barcelona? Or this morning, when Lily Skype-sang me Happy Birthday with the big finish of her stuffed cat flying into the air?
In all truth, I’m thinking that it will be the one next year…and the next…and the next. Because one of the gifts I want most now that I’m in the third-third of life is to wrap up my time in this world still believing there’s something so remarkable, so beautiful, so loving just around the corner that it will take my breath away.
And I’m betting I’m right. 😉
(c) 2013, Carla Carwile