Today is my mother's birthday. March 31, 1926. She who died July 1, 2008, nine months ago.
She who made every birthday into a national holiday with home crafted cakes and presents galore. Or in later years, a big check. We started sending checks on her birthday and she absolutely loved it. Alan, whose mother also died recently and whose birthday was the day after his (how brutal is that?), buys a cupcake identical to the cakes his mom used to make him, and has a birthday party each year.
I was so glum today that sounded like a great idea. I had to stand up in front of thirty people and do a presentation at noon, but I really wanted only to lay down in the snow and bawl like a baby.
Today I got a poem in the email from my notorious poet friend, Eugene. It sums up quite nicely and expresses probably the emotion of the whole town:
where's the season's cotyledon
why is springtime not-a-heedin'
all the critter's calls for it
why's there more of this white shit?
Yes, waking up yet again to the imitation blizzard which stops and starts again all day. Yesterday the cloud was over Polson and no where else. I came down over the hill from Pablo into a snow shower. We're having one now. This late season snow is putting a serious cramp into my pre-season alley grazing. Those poor robins what are they doing today? They were so optimistic showing up three weeks ago! The lilac shoot buds are greening up, irises poking up. Anyone have crocuses? I wouldn't be surprised to see some surprised pussy willows. I saw stellaria making a bold come back last week...some tiny seedlings popping up through the dirt.
But winter has no teeth now. And the snow could be our insurance policy against August wildfires. You just never know.
Back to my mother. There was only one time that I know of that my Mom honored her own birthday. She was coming up on 80. No one including her thought she would EVER live that long. She had just been diagnosed with metastasized lymphoma, was bewigged following aggressive treatment, and she figured this was it. Last Birthday. So we called in the troops: her long lost brother and adorable wife came in from Florida, my cousins rolled in from the south, my brothers and I were there with bells on, and we had a ball for 3-4 days. She was the center of it all and loving it.
The funny thing is the cancer just went on holiday for a year, so she ended up having the birthday she didn't think she'd have: # 81; what an anti-climax it was for her. Then some other medical problems started edging up on the cancer, which muddled the diagnosis when it came back. During that hiatus, she said, "Shit, I thought the cancer was going to take me out."
Really, she talked about her eminent demise that way...with such a cavalier, in your face directness, she had us undone most of the time. Looking at her calendar one time, she said, "Maybe I won't have to have my teeth cleaned next time!" Have you ever known anyone to look at the bright side of dying...as a way to get out of an unwanted appointment?
Today I will follow my dear one's advice and get a cake and have a birthday party. Turn around is fair play, Mom!