Mar 1, 2009

JoJo Has a Birthday...ugh...

Ok... Although I would like to ignore it, yesterday was my birthday. Need I say, I HATE BIRTHDAYS, (however I hate the alternative even more).

My family is funny about birthdays. (We are funny about a lot of things, but today we are talking birthdays). We have a thing where "we don't let the day go by" without acknowledging someone's birthday with more than just the obligatory "Happy Birthday" greeting. This came about because when the birthday falls mid-week it's easy to celebrate it on the weekend when we all have time. But we found we were losing track of the "real" day, so we (I am not sure if it was a combined effort of Angelee and Sam, but somebody) instituted the practice of doing something, however small and insignificant to acknowledge "the day" of birth. (editor's note: after this post my sister informed me that in fact she was the one to begin this revered tradition. Of course... Once you get a good idea, everyone wants to claim ownership. Ok, MaRee, it was you)

Although my birthday fell on a Saturday, my sister called me on Friday and had her whole class sing "Happy Birthday" to me over the phone (all four verses). It was great, and very sweet... Then my brother Pete called me and said, that since it was the day before he wanted to be the very first to wish me a happy birthday. I told him that MaRee beat him to it with the class... Gahhhh, he said... (not his exact words, we run a clean show here, but you get the idea)... In his unique way, he is always there for me when I need him. Even though he lives 700 miles away, when we talk it's like no time has passed or distance separates us. (but I digress...)

Like I said, this year my birthday fell on a Saturday... So we did the direct celebration, which we love (not having to drag it out into a week long celebration). The birthday person gets to choose whether they want to go out or eat at home... Duh, let me see, which do I want? This year we went to Sierra Nevada Brewery for dinner. Joshie crapped out on us and didn't show (and we missed him), but everyone else did: Sammy, Angelee, Charlee, Knick, "Huh-MaRee" and Darryl. We had a nice dinner. MaRee has decided that she doesn't like it there, but I think everyone else enjoyed the food; I certainly did (of course). Those of you who know me, know that I have not missed many meals. In fact, anyone who sees me can tell as well.... (sigh... fat wins.)

After dinner, we went to my house for excellent home-made "cocoa can" chocolate cake which my sister lovingly prepared, complete with singing (all 4 verses) and candles. Joshie decided to make an appearance at the house party; he probably just came to torment Meesha, who is always up for a little tormenting from him. They have a "love/tolerate" relationship. The "fam" even got me gifts (awww, gee, you shouldn't have) in the form of gift cards (mostly Itunes cards - which I usually spend immediately on audio books).

I have the best family. I honestly don't know what I'd do without these people. I know it's sort of self evident but family grows on you (in many varied and exciting ways). Literally. Grows. On. You. If you are lucky, that is. When I started out as a kid, our family was small and isolated (because of our crazy parents). Then my sister got married and had kids. I got married and although I didn't have kids, we had dogs. Then my sister's kids grew up, and some started having kids themselves, and things really started to get exciting.

See, since I don't have kids (we couldn't have them), I always thought we'd have sort of a solitary life (because of the solitary life example I was raised in). I have a wonderful husband who tries in every way to show me that he loves me, the most important of which is that he sticks with me, "for better or for worse (usually worse)" and usually tries to make me happy (an impossible undertaking). When people ask me what makes a good marriage, I immediately say, "find the right person."

So once we found we couldn't have kids, I thought we would be relegated to the obiligatory Christmas and Easter visits and then be forgotten the rest of the year. I kept waiting for it to happen. Sort of dreading when it would happen. Wondering when it would happen. Thinking at every get-together, "well, this is probably the last time we'll do this." Or, "enjoy it now, next year they won't think to ask us." Or the ever popular, "I will miss this...sigh..."

But (knock on wood...) it doesn't seem to be happening (so far... anyway). I still get to see and even interact with everyone. We still get invited... When Angelee had her baby, we got to be there and got to hold him on the very FIRST day - first hour even - of his little life.

Without lapsing into maudlin rememberences, let me just say that one of the most precious things in my life is that I was (and continue to be, it seems) included in Angelee's whole baby experience. That is something that I thought I would never ever be a part of, by virtue of never having kids, and it has been and continues to be an incredible life-altering experience.

Then, imagine my surprise when on Mother's day last year, Sammy gave me a very sweet card and inside was a very valuable gift which enabled me to buy an Ipod. It wasn't the gift, it was that he wanted to give me something and wanted to acknowledge me on that day. I have to say, it choked me up then and remembering it now, chokes me up still, whenever I think about it.

My sister, MaRee, has been nothing but generous with her liberal sharing of her kids with me. She never gives me the old, and ever popular "If you've never been a mother, you'll never truly understand." She subscribes to the belief that "it takes a village" with everyone's contribution, however miniscule, being a valuable addition to the whole. She helps me in so many ways and on so many levels that it would be impossible to enumerate them all, and would trivialize them to try. Simply put, she's one of the few people who truly understands the craziness that is uniquely JoJo and yet she loves me anyway, or appears to.

As if that weren't affirming enough, just recently, over the holidays, I went through a very scary health issue and there they all were, with me and for me, every step of the way, each in their own inimitable (and sweet) style. They walked through the scary time right along with me, laughing, joking, just being in the moment with me. I will not forget their support and their love (until and unless I forget everything...perish the thought), and I will always appreciate it and appreciate them. Thanks seems trivial, but until better words emerge, it's all I have. (I love you guys...)


  1. there are 4 verses to the Birthday song??? Could you please post them.
    p.s. I followed a link on Angelees blog to get here so its her fault if you don't want people like me reading it.


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