Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Birth Day

wittle
Baby me.  I was caught off guard by tears spitting out last night as I was getting dressed to go for an early birthday dinner.  I realized I wouldn't get a card from my Mom today.  That she wouldn't be calling.  And that she is the reason that I have a birthday.  Juliana wouldn't let me say I'm okay and be alone when she noticed my tears.  She sat next to me and put her arms around me, and said she understands.   Jeff gave me the most beautiful necklace.  We had a delicious dinner, all of us packed into a booth, eating off of each other's plates.  Roman and I had a blanket my mom had knit for him keeping our laps warm.  Crowded.  Happy.  Full.  Mary Anna slept through it.  We had yummy Jeni's ice cream sandwiches when we got home.  Later, in the dark of my room as I nursed Mary Anna around 2am I felt myself sinking into her with my gaze.  Thinking of how Mom did just the same with me.  In the dark.  So close and tender.  In the shadowy parts of my emotion today I feel a bit orphaned.  If I allow myself to step into some light however, there is just so much. 

My mother-in-law sent me a Nordstroms gift card.  I think I'll go spend it today.  My phone started buzzing early this morning, across the room.  I guessed in my mind who was texting, calling.  I was right.  Pierrette brought me a Fat Tire and a cupcake about the same size.  My sister Eleni sent me a picture of Mom and I at the beach from years ago, gazing out at the water together.  Sitting just the same on the sand.  Same broad shoulders.  She said she was sorry I had to have the first birthday without Mom.  She made it better for me.  Juliana suggested manicures and pedicures later today.

Then a voicemail from my dad who has never been known for remembering anyone's birthday because he has never had to.  He sang Happy Birthday to me. I wasn't expecting it.  And I had already decided that I was fine if he didn't remember.  But there it was, my favorite gift.  I sat on the edge of my bed crying, holding the phone.  And one hand over my mouth, as he sang through his thick Greek accent (which gave me a little laugh too).  Echoing, no doubt, through his big house.  But I heard joy in his voice when he followed it with "I can't believe my baby is in her 40s."

Me either, Daddy.
I know she celebrates me still.  I feel it.
xoAnna

74 comments:

  1. Oh, my goodness. My heart goes out to you. All the "firsts" are the very worst. So nice you have such wonderful support.
    On a lighter note, I just recently made your Figure 8 scarf with your velveteen fabrics and some cottons as a gift for a dear friend. Very difficult to give it away! I'll have to make one for myself now! xoxoxo

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  2. We share a birthday, you and I, AM. And I remember well the first year without my dad, (who was what your mom is--your backbone, your heart). It's living in the presence of absence. Every day, but your birthday more than most. I feel with you today as I celebrate my own birthday. May you learn to live in the presence of her absence, as hard as it is. Happy first birthday.

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  3. AnnaMaria,
    You write so beautifully, the tears are running down my cheeks. Thank you for being brave in your sadness, setting an awesome example for your kids. May God bless you, your Mama, your Daddy, your baby, your whole family. You are blessed to have a sweet, sweet sister. Together all of you will hold each other up. Happy Birthday sweet girl, I'd love to be in my forties! Sending love and light from Alabama :)

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  4. wishing your tender heart a special day. Bask in all the love you share with your family...

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  5. Hugs and birthday wishes! I remember my first, they don't get easier but they do fill with more joyful memories.

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  6. Anna Maria: I understand how you feel. I still miss my Mama especially on my birthday!! She was the only one that understood the pink party dress thing...got a pink card every year. It's so hard but I take comfort in doing those memorable things for my kids, they will be warmed the way my mom warmed me. Happy Birthday with your family.

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  7. What a beautiful post. Tears fell. Be strong and embrace that wonderful family of yours! Happy Birthday!

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  8. Beautiful writing. I will be celebrating that same "first" in a few weeks and feeling quite tender in reading your post. Take comfort and joy in your circle of love. Happy Birthday.

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  9. Anonymous1:50 PM

    You carry all of your mother's love in your heart, Anna Maria.

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  10. Happy Birthday, dear Anna Maria.
    I don't mean to cry on your birthday, but I don't think
    I've read anything quite so poignant about losing a mother.
    Please be held in the love and kindness that is all around you,
    and in all the sweet memories, too. Make this a happy day.

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  11. Beautiful...happy birthday.

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  12. Perfect timing it seems for me. I was just sitting having a very tough time with the fact that yesterday was my brother's birthday and I had forgotten. He died in an accident when I was 20 and he just days past 18. It's been 14 years now and I suppose I'm finally healing a bit. But I am finding myself sorrowful even over healing; I don't want to forget. It's all so complex.

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  13. Happy Birthday! Sending you lots of love today, as always.

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  14. Lucretia2:38 PM

    Such a sweet, tender post. Happy birthday to you, awash in love, memories and family. Big virtual hugs.

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  15. carrie2:44 PM

    Happy Birthday Dear friend! Your Mom is smiling down on you from heaven. YOU are A wonderful gift to all of us.

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  16. It's early Thursday morning here in Australia and I have just read your beautiful post. Through the tears I thought aren't we fortunate, you and I, to have had mothers who warrant our deep mourning at their absence. I'm a generation ahead of you, but age knows no barriers when it comes to that strong bond between mothers and daughters which carries on through our own daughters and in my case, granddaughters. Happy birthday Anna Maria - I wish I could have heard your wonderful father singing to you.

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  17. Happy 40th birthday. I can't even begin...except now I can because of your beautiful words and tribute to the powerful love that is mother.

    Thank you for sharing. You have such an amazing family. I love your dad's message. Do you think it was a conversation they had...where she said to him, "This is your job now." And he made sure to remember because he wanted her to know it was taken care of. I can almost imagine it and start crying all over again.

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  18. Happy birthday Anna Maria. I couldn't help get sentimental while reading your beautiful post. I lost my mom almost two years ago and this brought bittersweet memories.
    Thank you for sharing. Hugs XX

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  19. Oh man I know the feeling. Thanks for the cry, I needed it...missing my Dad and sad about his upcoming birthday, the first since he's been gone. The previous commenter was right, the firsts are the worst. Hope you have a happy birthday and cherish those memories of her!

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  20. Happy Birthday AM... I wish I could think of something more brilliant to say but I am crying too hard. I do want to wish you the very best on your special day and the very best for your most special family- Being a loyal reader in a way I feel like I lost someone special too the day you gave us the sad news- and I have cried and smiled with you since and will continue to do so.... her beautiful legacy lives on through you.

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  21. Anonymous3:59 PM

    Happy Birthday Anna Maria.... many of us share your feelings at the most intimate of levels. The first Christmas, birthdays.... coming upon a greeting card with them oh so familiar handwriting.... Yes, we cry... 14 years later the tears do still come... especially after reading your most heartfelt post. just know.... I know. We do have ourselves some amazing children, don't we?

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  22. Happy Birthday! May the memories of your Mother comfort you and bless you. I like to share with ALL women that when you lose your Mom you may find yourself, at any time, breaking out in tears. It's normal; we've all done it. I also want to remind all of us how our Mother sends us love and guidance our whole lives. Blessings to you & yours.

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  23. happy birthday! lots of love to you, Anna. xoxoxo

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  24. Oh my! Now you've made me cry at work. I wish you nothing but the best for your birthday and every day. You truly are extraordinary.

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  25. Beautiful!! And now I am crying....

    Happy Birthday!

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  26. Happy birthday, Anna Maria. You share a birthday with my amazing mother ... who I lost nearly two years ago now, and still miss terribly. July 31st must be a day when people who light the world are born, if the two of you are any example. May the love you shared with your mother shine through everything, every day.

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  27. Anonymous6:39 PM

    Funny how first can be so wonderful and gut wrenching awful. You are blessed and loved. Happy birthday.

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  28. Happy Birthday to you sweet Anna Maria. Your beautiful post brought tears to my eyes as well. Big hugs. My birthday is tomorrow. Summer birthdays are sweet.

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  29. That Dad call is what did me in. Happy Birthday to you dear Anna Maria.

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  30. Anonymous7:59 PM

    What a lovely tribute to your mother. My moment was the high school graduation card from my father to my daughter the spring after my mother's death. . .that bittersweet thought that "he never had to do that before", but realizing he he was noticing all along.
    You mother has passed along her caring nature to you and your sister, and now you are sharing that special gift with your daughters. Hugs to all of you!

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  31. Hey, I know how much a birthday without parents sucks! Both of mine are there, but I missed my grandpa on my first birthday after he passed away. He used to bring a huge box full of "gulab jamoons" for me on every birthday all the way from his town which was about 250 kilometers away! On the birthday after he passed away, as I sat down for dinner, I realized they're not going to be there on any of my next birthdays... :(
    Sending you hugs from India!!!

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  32. I know exactly how you feel, it's been 6 years and I think of my mom every single day especially when my birthday comes,hers was a day before mine. The sad think was she forgot who I was years before she passed. God bless you and your wrongful family.

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  33. so beautiful it brought tears to my own eyes

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  34. Anonymous9:30 PM

    your baby girl is beautiful
    Dads sometimes become more tender when they are the one left.
    your family just shines love.
    best wishes for a healing heart.

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  35. She is still celebrating you, don't ever doubt it

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  36. Happy birthday, sweet spirit. I'm sorry that the sad had to come with the good. Sounds like you are well loved. :)

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  37. You are a supremely talented textile designer. But I believe your greatest gift may be your big, open, articulate heart. Bless you.

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  38. What a beautiful and heartwrenching post...I'm so sorry your mama is gone, but so glad you've raised such good kids and have a daughter that gets you so well. Happy birthday, and take care.

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  39. Oh Anna Maria, what a lovely post. I do feel for you. I am glad for the happy parts of your day. Your birthday dinner sounds wonderful.

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  40. How beautifully did you put y our emotions to words!
    Congratulations.

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  41. To be surrounded by the most wonderful family one could wish for and having a loving mother for ever in your heart, I think that's the most wonderful birthday present a person can get, Anna Maria. Happy, happy birthday to you!!

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  42. A belated happy birthday to you lovely lady. It must be so hard not to have your mum there and to be honest I don't know how I will cope one day. So pleased to hear that you were surrounded by people who clearly love you. May this be a good year for you and your lovely family. Sending you a warm hug xoxo

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  43. What wonderful memories of that hard and special day. My heart aches reading this because life can be so hard and yet so full at the very same moment. You are obviously so well loved! Happy belated birthday.

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  44. Happy birthday, Anna. I so feel your pain; my first birthday two years ago without a card or call from my mom was so difficult -- like the hurt just keeps happening. But it gets better. And like your dad, my dad has taken the reins and now sends out cards for every occassion: birthdays, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving. It's been so funny and fun to see. Have a wonderful birthday.

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  45. Happy birthday, your mum will always be with you, somewhere. You are a wonderful writer, got me into tears as well. I know how it feels to loose someone so close.
    Enjoy your little one and the other people around you.
    Groetjes
    Annemieke

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  46. So much love in your family Anna, you are blessed. I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. That phone call from your Dad is just so sweet.
    Happy Belated Birthday!

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  47. I share tears with you. And with your Dad. Your mother left such a wonderful legacy of love and influence but how hard it is to be with that loss.

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  48. Happy Birthday, beautiful. Please pass the kleenex.

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  49. i lost my mum in last december a month before my baby girl was born and your post made me cry... you write so beautifully. Happy birthday

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  50. poor sweet lady. i am so sorry for your loss. i hope you had a blowout at our Nordstrom-- what a great place to wander and lose yourself for awhile.

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  51. What an emotional birthday....I'm tearing up reading this post. How lovely of your Dad to remember too. Very special.

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  52. Happy birthday, Anna Maria - I'm sure your Mom's celebrating you, too, and what a lovely post. We Lizzies miss her, too.

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  53. Christine8:03 AM

    I was 24 when my mother passed away, so the love was still fresh, like yours. It wasn't a little bleached and faded as is the case when someone older and more content passes away. You never know which memories will hurt the most, which days will be the hardest to live through or which things the hardest to sort through. You think it will be pictures or jewelry. For me it was, her hairbrush. Her collection of recipies really broke me, reminding my of how she left her own mother at 18 for another country and then gathered ideas for how to feed her husband and daughters over time. And a purple folder with all the horrible details of doctor's appointments and scans of the tumor, two little cut-outs of Saints carefully tucked inside. I imagined her praying over that folder. 6 years later, my dad is still like a lonely left foot dancing in circles without her. Like I said, the love was fresh, so it does keep bleeding a little every day. I take some comfort in the fact that maybe it will have healed once my son gets older. But I'm not sure. Sometimes I'm scared that you just feel orphaned forever. Like a tree loosing its roots. Like it doesn't matter how many leaves you grow...

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  54. How lovely to have been loved so hard. Lucky you!

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  55. Thinking of you. I lost my mom 9 years ago when I was pregnant with my baby boy. I think of her everyday and miss her. But she is in my boy - I see it and feel it every time I look at him. Your mom is with you every day. Peace.

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  56. Jenny A.9:35 AM

    Beautiful words Anna Maria! So much emotion felt! Thank you for sharing!

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  57. Big huge tears. I'm so moved. Keep writing, it is so healing. What a God-given gift you have with written words.

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  58. how lovely - what a perfect gift!

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  59. happy happy beautiful.birth.day a.m.!! tears welled in my eyes when reading your heart about you and your mom. loving you to her today. just the best about your dad. xoxo

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  60. Anonymous8:57 PM

    Happy very belated birthday, Anna Maria. I'm sorry you had to go through your birthday without your mom. I know how very hard that is. Last year, my mom died in May. My birthday was in January. Not only was it my first birthday without my mom, it was my first birthday without any parents as my dad has been gone for 10 years. My brothers did not call me, no one from my family did. No birthday cards, either. My little ones tried so hard to make it all better. I realized that I didn't need my "family " because I have my boys and husband, but, deep down, it still hurts terribly. I am an adult orphan.
    You are very lucky. You not only have your husband and children, you have your dad, siblings, and their families. You also have friends. You are very blessed.

    Louise

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  61. Blessings to you Anna Maria!

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  62. Tears of sadness and joy fall as I read your post. You get it, the "it" of life - embracing the sadness and the beauty all rolled into one. Many blessings to you on your special day. You bring so much to so many, thank you for it all!

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  63. Anonymous3:29 PM

    I lost my husband 2 yrs ago,your post made me cry.Not because of the loss as much as how touching it is to know that when we pass, our love ones continue to count their blessings.Thank-you for your gift to me,HUGS!!!!

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  64. I love visiting with you through your blog ... I am looking at the pear painting you did for me so long ago - and treasure it still. I lost my dad in January- and sadly, I think my mom soon. Her Alzheimers has kept her from me for so very long already... there are gifts in this journey too; if only we didn't have to experience the loss to receive the gifts... with love.

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  65. I read with awe and amazement your memories of your mother. As a product of a mother who made it clear each and every day that her children were a nuisance she could have done without, I get a glimpse of what could have been and should have been.
    She has Alzheimers now and is living in a nursing home after living with us for several years so that we could care for her. She looks up when I come to visit with joy in her eyes to see me. Funny how it took a disease like Alzheimers to make that happen.
    I wish you joy and love.

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  66. Ahhh. My best friend's mom died when my friend was in her twenties, and her mom always called her in the morning on her birthday to sing to her. I love that your dad called and sang. I'd be both laughing and crying too. :)

    Love and Peace,

    Val

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  67. big hugs and sharing your tears. I lost my mum a few years ago and birthdays are tough, cards written by my dad are missing her name and I just miss her still so much. But she's always in my heart. I'm glad you still had a special dayxxxxx

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  68. I cannot imagine. This post is cause for me to always remember the preciousness of each day we have left in this life...

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  69. I haven't been keeping up on blogs and just now realized you had a new precious baby...so I go looking back in the archives to find out when she was born....and I come across your 2013 post that your mother has passed away....and now I read this post and the tears are running down my face...you feel orphaned. I am so sorry. I too lost my father in law in August, to a sudden massive stroke, a week later than my mother in law had passed away just two short years ago from ALS. We were not ready...is anyone...ever. They were like parents to me, closer to them than I am my own parents and it has been so terribly hard. Orphaned. We know how you feel and want to remember you in prayer. Days are so long sometime when one misses them. May your days get brighter as the days go by. Oh... and your poor sweet father. I hope he gets brighter days also. May God comfort you and guide you. And CONGRATULATIONS on beautiful sweet Mary Anna!

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  70. Beautiful! Thank you for the reminder to cherish the little things in life!

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