Despite the fact that this is the last week of school and I have three girls, I would have spent most of the day with my Mom. Regardless of the exam stress, end-of-year events, shopping I needed to do for teacher thank--yous that result from having three girls between the ages of 8-16, I would have spent most of the day with my Mom on her birthday!
Because birthdays are special.
My Mom worked almost every day of her life from the time she was 16. But, as far as I remember, she always took her birthday off to celebrate. And I learned to plan to take her birthday as a vacation day too so we could do something she planned for us together.
Mom made my birthdays special. From the red velvet cakes she brought to Duke every year to the yearly lunches she planned for me and my family, birthdays were made to be celebrated.
Most of this learned behavior, this tradition, has been passed down. In the Whitlock house, we celebrate birthdays with decorated kitchens and birthday cake for breakfast. But, we've learned that birthdays aren't just about the day, it's about the celebration. And often, we celebrate for days - even weeks or a whole month if it's a milestone.
I miss my Mom. I wish I would have done more than save a vacation day for her birthday. I know my Mom wanted more from me. I know I didn't 'give her what she wanted from me. And that is the hard, hard truth as a Motherless Mama. I think that we all carry the burden of guilt that we didn't give our Mamas enough of us when they were alive. At least I know I didn't. Birthdays weren't enough.