Blow Out The Candles

Tomorrow is my birthday.

As birthdays go, it’s not a big one.  It doesn’t end in a zero or even a five.    To anyone else, there’s nothing special about it.

But to me, it’s huge.

Last year’s birthday was pretty emotional; it was the first one after my accident, and everyone who knew me agreed that it was a day to celebrate.  It was a birthday I came so close to missing.  An age I very nearly didn’t reach.

We don’t do much for my birthday anymore.  My sister will call, and so will my mother –in-law, and I’ll get oodles of wonderful birthday wishes on Facebook.  I got a card earlier in the week from my husband’s great-aunt – the high point of any holiday is the card and letter from her—and I got my card and gift from my mother-in-law today as well.

I’ll make some waffles for everyone with my favorite butter pecan syrup, and we’ll have some special coffee that’s supposed to taste like Northern Michigan Cherries.  For later in the day, we have a lemon cake mix and everything we need for a big taco dinner.

It will be a nice, quiet birthday, just like all my others.  No fuss, no big deal.  Just comfortable and low-key, a day spent with the people I love.

I’ll miss the calls I used to get from my aunts, calling to sing a loud and painfully off-key version of “Happy Birthday”.  The aunts are all gone now, all four of them. And Dad, who always called with a really raunchy dirty joke and a quick “Love ya, Kid!” – Dad’s been gone eleven long years now.

No, this birthday isn’t notable for all of the people I’ve lost.  Not even for all of the loved ones I’ve gained.

This one is about a different kind of milestone.

You see, my mother died young.  She died of breast cancer; she fought with everything she had, and she hung on longer than anyone expected her to.  She was a brave, beautiful and feisty woman who left us all too soon.

Tomorrow, I will be older than Mom.

Tomorrow, I will have passed the age at which my mother died.