Friday, February 03, 2012
My birthday is in August, and as a child, we were often travelling to coastal regions so that my father, who was in college, could work on research for his MS and then PhD. He's a coastal geologist, who specialized in sea level change and erosion/accretion and all that stuff - so we had wonderful summers on beaches, but it also meant that my birthday wasn't celebrated by having a big party with all of my friends.
I grew up in a family with 5 children - my sister had special emotional needs, my brothers were a handful - and I was the quiet kid, the good kid, the one everyone counted on for help or support. Didn't cause problems, didn't complain, just did what needed to be done.
So my mother - who was sort of the good kid when she was growing up - decided that my birthday in August would be my family party - and some years my birthday party was chicken pot pies in our trailer or rented cabin. But she also decided my friend birthday party would be on my half birthday, in February. So for a few years (about ages 8 to 12-ish) I had my half birthday party, complete with friends, balloons, presents, cake, ice cream, the whole bit. I have absolutely no idea what those friends (or their parents!) thought, but my mom was kind of known as being unconventional, and this was probably accepted as just another one of Norma's ideas.
I thought it was wonderful. I STILL think it was wonderful. I had two days a year when I was the star, when my sister's and brothers' needs didn't overwhelm me, when I had everyone's attention (even if it was only for an hour or so). I had the party with my friends, and didn't miss out on that, the way so many summer birthday kids do.
And I knew that my mom knew that I was the overlooked kid, and that I was special to her.
So at times like this, I really do miss my mom.