A mom’s birthday is so different from the parties planned for a mom’s child. As a mom, I gather my sons’ friends, design a cake that will inprint in their memory, fill up water balloons until my fingers are sore, puzzle over party favors that are cost efficient but are die-to-take-home favors. A day of celebration, a day that hugs all around and down the years.
Love is a determination that finds a way to re-bag a surprise 16 party that a “friend” let out of the bag. I’ve planned 2 surprise 16 parties. It is so fun to be able to lie for 3 weeks about everything in a surprise party and not go to hell for it. For example, one 16th party, I reminded my son that one set of neighbors was having a family reunion. I was making lemon-curd meringue shell pies to help them out. By the way, watch out for all the cars. The reunion folk would be parking up and down the street. Not a word that was true!
My husband and I had worked out a plan. He and Perceiver of Truth were going to the movies with Perceiver’s best friend. I was going to send out an SOS emergency call about a snake on the porch, a poisonous-looking snake. They would return to save the fear-stricken family. It worked out “perfectly.” Of course, it helped that the night before, an actual snake curled up on the column of the front porch.
My birthday, though I boast it’s the 3rd most important day of the year (after Jesus’ birth and resurrection), is filled with ecleticly mom-moments. For example, when I was 40, I planned my own surprise party. I think my husband was the most surprised because I actually did it. Of course, I wasn’t really surprised, but it was so fun planning it!
For two years in a row, I cancelled my birthday, rescheduling it for another day. The boys, snarly and snipping , were in such foul moods. One shouldn’t celebrate in the midst of such unpleasant tempers. Birthdays should be laughing, smilling, hugging occasions.
One year, on the way to Outback Steakhouse (so totally yum), the two littlest cried in perpetual chorus, “I want to go to O’Charley’s. Why can’t we go to O’Charley’s?”
As we were driving closer to my happy birthday dinner, the lyrics to Rodney Atkin’s song, “If You’re Going Through Hell” came on the radio:
“If your going through hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
Yeah, If you’re going through hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there”
This is a song you don’t want to live on your birthday. However, that song is now a thread in the tapestry of my birthday memories. Funny, my husband and I don’t have a special song, but I have a special birthday song.
A Mama’s birthday! How different! Today, how perfect, in a mama-kind-of way.
We went to church. I couldn’t have picked a sermon that I wanted to hear, or my sons to hear any better. God did a great job planning my day. Our minister spoke about the power of words, that what you speak is what you get. In other words, speak Faith. Speak God’s promises on your life!
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit”(Proverbs 18:21)
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent (Proverbs 10:19)
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight”(Pslam 19:14)
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”(Ephesians 4:29)
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope”(Jeremiah 29:11)
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life”(Proverbs 10:11)
“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridlge his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directions. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things”(James 3:2-5)
This was accompanied by a story of one of our high school graduates who would be going to the Citadel. Teachers and counselors told him he would never get accepted. He applied anyway. His father finally told him, after he hadn’t had a response, to speak his Faith. He did. He’s going.
I’ve had so many people do the same to me. My high school counselor and mom talked. They decided that I should not go into journalism. I just really did not have the talent, they said–just because your mama thinks you are good doesn’t really mean you are. That I was editor of the school paper who earned special recognition meant nothing to them.
I could have said, “Oh, well, you’re a failure. They say so.” Instead, I went to college, wrote for the local newspaper for about 2 years before I entered graduate school.
In graduate school, my thesis advisor dropped me. He didn’t think I had it. The graduate advisor told me I had no creative ability whatsoever. I was in the wrong area. I was 8 months pregnant. I went home, cried, pulled myself together, delivered a baby and an honorable mention short story in the Sigma Tau Delta national literary magazine. I found a new thesis advisors, finished my creative thesis, and turned it in. The Dean of the Graduate School called our department chairman, declaring it the best creative thesis that had come over her desk.
Other people’s words have the power to tear down. However, what we speak about our gifts and ourselves, well, that is up to what comes out of our mouths. We control that. I am a firm believer in what you speak is what you get. There are enough people in the world willing to stomp on dreams, without the dreamers stomping on their dreams, too!
After church, we had Chess and Checkers time. I was soundly defeated in both by my oldest son. I rarely lose, but having all my boys around just playing Chess and Checkers was a win for me.
We went to my favorite restaurant, Crawdaddy’s, for my favorite meal. No crying this time. Sweet Sallies Bakery made my favorite chocolate ganache cupcakes ( I ordered too late for a cake), but everyone loves a cupcake.
Not mentioned in my day was rampant house cleaning during Chess and Checkers because we’re moving, trying to sell our house, and the realtor wanted to show it during my birthday lunch. Not mentioned was that after my birthday nap, we drove 3 hours to where we’re going to move to get things set to move at the end of the week. A mom’s birthday is uniquely different from our children’s.
However, at the end of my uniquely perfect birthday, I sat down to write this post for Blue Cotton Memory, my dream come to life!
Thanks ladies, for making my birthday so uniquely mom-perfect!