Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sons, Daughters, Mom's Birthday

March 3: Who knew that a day that I am really not super thrilled to acknowledge on a vanity level, yet one that still makes me feel special, would actually cause me to feel pretty low?

March 3: It's my birthdate; my birthday. I like birthdays at face value - it's YOUR day! Celebrate another year of being alive! (But just don't go announcing how many years unless you are south of age 30, or north of 90.)

March 3, 2005: My mother died of ALS. I walked into her room at the hospice care center and the nurse pulled me aside and whispered, "It's probably going to be today." Her words slammed into my chest. I wanted to whimper, "But it's my birthday." Instead, I waited a couple of hours and mentioned it casually to her and we both shared a horrified stare. And so it went. My birthday would forever be linked with my mom's death. Then again, my birthday is also forever linked with my mom living, ergo, giving me life.

So, last week my birthday dawned, with the usual - and unusual - mix of emotions it now brings. There were some very random birthday cards left for me in the kitchen from my husband, youngest son, Jack, 13, and daughter, jess, 16. In the card, ostensibly "from Jess," she wrote: "Daddy picked this out; sorry!" Later on, my second oldest son, Kenny, 24, phoned me from the road - which is now his life - to wish me a happy day. When Jess came home from school, she presented me with a gaily wrapped gift: a fragranced candle which read on the outside: "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" She knows how much I love candles and sayings like that which make one pause and consider.

By nightfall, I had not heard from my oldest son, Blake, now 26 and a Marine living in San Diego. Nada. Not a peep. And he doesn't have the excuse of being in Iraq in combat this year. In a knee-jerk reaction, I posted the following on his Facebook page: "If I weren't born, then you wouldn't have been born. That is your only hint about what today is."

Suffice it to say that we are both pretty angry with one another at this point. His last words to me were something along the line of if he can't remember his OWN birthday why should he be expected to remember anybody else's?

Clearly birthdays mean more to females than males. Or most males? Some?

Mom's special day is easier for a daughter to acknowledge, than a son?

I want to call a truce.

What do you think?

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