Birthday

January 3rd is when Mom celebrated her birthday. According to her birth certificate that’s the day she was born, but she actually came into the world February 3rd. I’m sure she was proud of the error on her birth certificate when she was a teenager. She turned 16 before she really was 16.

IMG_6128Mom never made much of birthdays, especially hers. Whatever it was….the winding down after the holidays or the fact that she never mentioned it, many times her birthday passed right by until one of us remembered to wish her a happy one. She always said, “Well thank you.”

As we grew up and out of the house, she usually sent a card or called on our birthdays. One of the most special gifts I got from Mom on my birthday was a card that recounted the details of the day of my birth. I’d turned 20 something when she gave it to me and that was better than any other thing I could’ve received.

Her last birthday was a great party. IMG_0837My niece gave her a “birthday girl” pin to wear and cooked a wonderful meal. We had cake, balloons, and lots of us gathered to celebrate her. I bet it was one of her best birthdays ever.

I wrote a post two years ago called Mama. The post is about Mom and the song that makes me remember a specific time I was with her and my younger sister. I wrote it just because I was thinking about her.

I heard the song this morning on my way to work, thought about Mom and remembered it was her birthday – her birth certificate birthday. The one she always said was her date of birth and the one we celebrated with her three years ago.

I miss her.

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Strawberries in the Sand

Every year at the beach we search for strawberries in the sand. One of us will return from a long walk on the beach and announce, “I found six strawberries!”  The others of us will admire the find and tell the lucky finder how pretty the strawberries are. Each day more of us will search and find our strawberries and we’ll talk about whose is the pinkest or which has its wings intact.

Strawberries in the sand are actually calico scallop shells and the “wings” are technically called ears. I’m not sure how the shells came to be known to us as strawberries but I can guess it’s because of the red, maroon, or rose colors found on most of them. However the “strawberry” name happened, it stuck. We even call the black scallops, “black strawberries”.

We throw the barnacle-encrusted strawberries back into the waves and continue our hunt. Our favorite strawberries are deep purples or vibrant pinks with no holes and both wings. If the colors are especially beautiful or unique enough, then holes and wings make no difference.

We’ve been calling them by the name for so long we forget that others don’t know about it. A newcomer to our beach gathering gives strange looks when we talk about searching for strawberries on the beach.

It’s just one of our things. Like chocolate gravy on Christmas Eve and stargazing in the back of a pickup on hot August nights, gathering stalks of cotton from the fields in October, or The Sound of Music the day after Thanksgiving.

Every family has those things.

What are some of yours?

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