Word of the Day: Flashback…

These roses are the same as those sent by the hubby yesterday!

These roses are the same as those sent by the hubby yesterday!

Yesterday was a somewhat monumental day for me…for several reasons.

Compassion Counseling Center had all 4 counseling rooms going at the same time…a first for the Center since it opened on January 15th. This week we are seeing 7 new clients…another first. And two of our three counselors-in-training are pretty much getting the hours we want them to have each week so that they can complete their practicums on time. The other counselor-in-training is closing in on that mark quickly and the large reason for not being there already is simply a matter of scheduling, not a lack of people requesting our assistance! I’ll take these kinds of birthday gifts any year. They are directly sent from Heaven.

But, I realized it was significant for a whole host of other reasons. As Facebook did what Facebook does best–alerting my family and friends that it was a special day for me and that awesome group of people took the time to extend birthday wishes, I couldn’t help but flashback to previous birthdays that involved them. I am blessed that some of those people still remember my arrival on the planet–they are getting fewer and farther between!

When you have survived four heart attacks and several trips to the ER for several allergic reactions, you tend to treasure each birthday and ignore the gray hair–they are a gift in and of themselves. So, here are the “flashbacks”:

1. I was born in upstate New York in a tiny town between Buffalo and Rochester. In late February the authorities called my very pregnant mother and let her know that, regardless of the impending blizzard, they would get her safely to the hospital if she went into labor…in a snowplow. Given that New York snowplows are about 2 stories high and Mom normally wore a dress in public in those days, she was less than thrilled about this option.

2. The first birthday I actually remember was when I turned 3. I even remember what I wore–my favorite pink print shirt. It dawned on me that birthdays are kinda fun for the first time that year.

3. The 4th birthday was spent in a whole leg cast. In February my brother and I were hoarsing around and he tripped as we were running up a flight of stairs and he landed on me, breaking my leg. It was a stupid, fluke accident, but my brother felt absolutely horrible about this incident his entire life. The result? He saved all of his newspaper boy money and spent it on the hot new toy of the 60s–a Barbie doll and the accompanying big set of clothing items. I was in 7th Heaven, playing with that doll with the blonde “bubble” hairdo.

4. The 17th birthday was spent at Farrell’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor. The staff wore turn-of-the-century costumes and the decor was vintage “soda shop.” The staff were known for their crazy antics, particularly if you ordered a “Zoo” for 20 people. They ran a huge bowl of ice cream up and down the aisles of the restaurant on a specially-designed litter while blaring an old-fashioned siren, Keystone-Cop style. The entertainment getting this order to our table was better than the ice cream, but I still smile thinking about that birthday.

5. The 18th birthday is probably the first one I remember where a guy very thoughtfully brought me flowers. I’ve never been one for cliches–so red roses don’t really trip my trigger. But this guy brought me a gorgeous spray of daffodils and tulips. Growing up in the Midwest, early March birthdays are seldom surrounded by sunshine and spring flowers and on this very gray Indiana day, a burst of spring in white tissue paper still makes me smile.

6. In college I actually my birthday. Why? Because it was the week before Spring Break and all of my professors usually wanted 25-page term papers (complete with footnotes) and gave at least a quiz, if not a major exam. On my 22nd birthday while my desk was a foot high in reference books, a mass of papers and very little organization and upon return from an early morning class (and a walk involving navigating ice and snow), there was a vase of yellow roses on that very messy desk (My favorite color of roses is yellow–they remind me of sunshine.). The boyfriend interspersed my busy day with a very romantic series of little events and ended it with proposing to his very sleepy girlfriend.

7.  Number 26 was special because it was the last birthday as just a wife. My middle region (and if I’m honest, everything else) was exploding with the impending arrival of the first son. Since infertility had reigned supreme the year before, I still remember this birthday with tears–tears of joy and relief. To this day when I need a little encouragement, I know the oldest son will provide it. He can often be my best life coach.

8. Number 27 brought tears, but for a different reason. We had suddenly been forced to move from my favorite state, my favorite home, my favorite church and my favorite group of friends to go to snowy Wisconsin. I knew absolutely no one on this birthday and felt like a total failure as a mother to an increasingly more active little boy.

9. Number 30 was special because I had a ruffled-bottom baby girl in my arms. This little brown-eyed wonder watched my every move. Little did I know that she was memorizing every aspect of me and her surrounding world. She’s been memorizing the whole world ever since and is one of the few who “gets” her mother’s crazy personality.

10. Number 33 found me preggers yet again with the “Immaculate Conception” baby, our youngest son. We had thought I could only get preggers by visiting a doctor first. This one had ideas of his own about that and he’s had his own ideas ever since. But, it’s fun to watch what that different mind has accomplished, often against tremendous odds.

11. Number 40 entailed getting Lasix. Why? Because I had survived two weird heart attacks the year before and I wanted my outsides to match the joy of surviving I felt on the inside.

12. The “grad student” birthdays usually involved me almost literally running from one commitment to another to acquire that master’s degree. And yet I still manage to treasure them. Go figure. Further proof that I should be a client at my own counseling center.

13. Several birthdays since # 40 have involved getting the family together at my favorite restaurant in Fort Worth–Reata. We plan to do the same celebration again this year–a little later, when the hubby is actually in town.  A flood of memories come back from these celebrations–surprise attendees, for one, such as the first year we added the DSL to the mix.

14. Last year’s birthday was monumental for several reasons: I had lost my brother 3 days earlier and it was the first birthday after surviving heart attacks 3 and 4. Honestly? I would have gladly taken my brother’s place–the world could use a few more people like my brother. Yes, tears ensued last year because my brother’s friendly voice was not one of many calls that day and the same guy who gave me that Barbie so lovingly was no longer there to help me tie my shoes, teach me multiplication tables and suffer through my horrible excuse for a two-step.

15. Yesterday marked the busiest day in Compassion Counseling Center history. A gorgeous bouquet of spring flowers, complete with yellow roses, showed up late morning from a traveling hubby who had claimed he hadn’t had time to shop for the wife’s birthday due to nonstop career demands and incessant airline delays. The one thing I’ve learned since birthday # 22–Never underestimate what that special man can get accomplished when he puts his mind to it. How I wound up lucky enough to be his wife I’ll never know.

So, what did all of these days have in common besides the date? The intangibles. The symbolism. The gift of family and friends, many still here, but some now gone way too soon, The gift of life. The gift of love. And so, I thank you all for taking me down “Memory Lane” yesterday in your own unique ways. I even secured a wish that my hands were still at 10 and 2 from my driver’s education compadre. And such smiles on my old wrinkled face make me feel young all over again. That’s better than any Fountain of Youth.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 5:45 am and is filed under Miscellaneous. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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