It’s my birthday. It’s my birthday! Today!
As the Girl Scout motto encourages, “Always be prepared.” I used to always prepare a written or mental wish list of suggested gifts for my birthday and Christmas. Although I love giving gifts, to a fault, at this point in my life, I prefer no gifts. After our family tended to my mother’s things after her death, it gave me a whole new perspective on stuff.
First of all, what we surround ourselves with are our own personal preferences. They aren’t necessarily another’s taste. Who will want them after we’re gone?
Secondly, I have acquired all that I need. It’s time to begin passing on those things that I know my loved ones like. Why wait? I’ve enjoyed them. It’s their turn.
Now, when asked what I would like, it’s a service that I request. Living with a SCI, it’s usually something I can’t do for myself, like: planting flowers that brighten my yard and light-up my days, arrange a bouquet from those that already bloom, pull dastardly weeds, make a favorite dish, a ‘drop in’ for a visit, or a transport and accompaniment to an appointment or errand.
Daily, life presents its demanding schedules and impromptu requirements. Expediency takes precedence in our busy-ness. Quality time is at a premium and my greatest treasure. For my birthday this year, with my deceased mother in mind, I requested some of her favorite food fare and helping hands from my sister and youngest niece.
For our lunch, (control your gag reflex, or your appalled, “WHAT!” response) I asked for Mother’s garlic sandwiches, her cottage cheese side dish, Zoe’s pimento cheese, and tea.
Because my sister knows how I love flowers, she picked Zenias from her neighbor’s prolific garden. (She says Jan can “spit” on a seed and it produces an orchard.)
For Mother’s garlic sandwich recipe, she rolled de-crusted whole wheat bread flat, spread a thin layer of softened butter and freshly pressed garlic on each slice then, rolled them into “shotgun slugs.” MY FAVORITE! Mother used to bring me a dozen or so to keep frozen until I needed one…or two.
For Mother’s cottage cheese side dish, she combined cottage cheese, onion, and cucumber with a generous portion of coarsely ground pepper. OMG!
On my “3-seeded” wheat bread, we spread Zoe’s cayenne pimento cheese, and sliced some plump, juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, also from Jan’s garden. YUM!
After lunch, Candace acted as my hands to help me place a very special symbolic collection of items into a shadowbox to hang in my bedroom. See!
Its contents are: a small Indian doll, I have kept since childhood, and an arrowhead. With hair braids, dressed in white leather, the doll represents my Native American Cherokee roots; an antique china picanniney baby with bushy hair plaits representing mixed children that I love and never got to adopt; a small map of Ethiopia, and a charcoal sketch of an Ethiopian woman sent to me from a ministry I support in Addis Ababa. I’ve had a heart for Ethiopia since my early teens after reading about Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; and a colorful silk embroidery of a Chinese woman dressed in the traditional Cheongsam, a piece of their currency, and a hand-carved wood elephant representing my love for Asia.
Happy Birthday, to me!
P.S. Don’t expect others to read your mind. When I told my sister what I wanted, she was totally surprised, but selflessly giving.
I hope your birthday is as special!