Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Without Saying Too Much About Myself, I'm Going To Say Too Much About Myself

I stared at my date's driver's license, the date of birth on it catching my eye. He had to show the card to pick up some movies we were renting for the night. Today was June 19, 1992 and the date of birth on his license was June 22.

"It's your birthday in three days, and you didn't mention it to me??" 

"Why would I? It's just a birthday. Right?"

My heart sank. I really liked this guy. Just a birthday. Did he really say that? We had only known each other since April, two months. The sane part of my brain interrupted my natural reaction of wanting to walk away. I knew the adult thing to do was to explain to him, about me and birthdays. So, even though I felt like I just wanted to go home, I'd try.

I would try to make sense to him, do it differently this time. "Birthdays are very important to me. I use them as the chance to tell someone, 'You count. I'm glad you were born. I'm happy you're here.'  Birthdays should never be ignored..." I wanted to continue, but my voice was starting to tighten, and knew I had to stop. Once you go all emotional, people quit listening.

I tried again, less crazy this time. "My birthday is September 21. Please don't forget it. If you do, I know I'll be really hurt, and won't want to see you anymore. September 21."

Birthdays, the day we are born. I celebrate what it means to be here, with the ones I love. I stay up until after midnight decorating the house for our children. I don't just sign their birthday cards, I leave paragraph long letters inside of how much I love them. I toast to them, and let them know I am grateful they are in my life and on this planet with me. I've never made it through any of those words without my voice cracking, not once.

My kids know this about me, my "thing" about birthdays, as they call it.

They know it's part of who their mother is. I hear them talking at the dining room table as they each make a card for me for my birthday the next day:

"It's because she didn't get them when she was little."
"It's because no one told her they were glad she was born."
"This is really important to her, it's her birthday, you know what that means."
"Do an extra good job on your cards, guys."

And, so, with them knowing this about me--their mother, I wake up today to find these glorious cards on the kitchen table from each one:



"Happy birthday, Mom" from my 16 year old

and

From middlest, my 14 year old


This one, from my youngest, Baby E


 
his message inside:

To my 'beutiful' mother


Do you know what happened on my birthday, September 21, 1992, with the date mentioned above with the driver's license? He picked me up at 12 o'clock, after asking me to take a half day off of work. In his car's backseat were flowers and a picnic basket. We drove to a quiet park, where we sat on a plaid blanket spread open on still green grass, our picnic basket in the middle, laughing while we ate deli fried chicken with our fingers; and then half way through, my eyes misted over as I saw him reach into the basket and lift out a mini birthday cake.

Seventeen years later, this date is the man who would remind our children, "It's your mom's birthday tomorrow. You know how important birthdays are to her. Do a good job on the cards, boys."

And they do, every year, they do such a good job.

Thank you, my boys, and thank you, Mark.

86 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, Empress! May it be all that you deserve and more!

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  2. I love it -- I'm the same way about birthdays (OK,mostly my own). The cards from your boys are fabulous. Glad you had a great birthday.

    I'll take the liberty of speaking on behalf of the Internet to say we're all happy you're here.

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  3. I love it! And I love that you're a september birthday too. Mine is Friday & my daughter's in next Friday. I love birthdays. And birthday cards. The hand written ones are the very best kind!

    Happy birthday, beautiful lady!

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  4. Have a wonderful day, big sis.

    We love you, and thank you for all you did for us.

    Happy Birthday!

    love, Ad.

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  5. Happy, happy birthday! The cards from your boys are wonderful! Birthdays are very important and special in our family as well. Have a fantastic day!

    PS - My eldest is nammed Alec too. :)

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  6. yay! that is awesome! i love your cards...my wifes is this weekend...big surprise in store....

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  7. Alexandra,



    You make our house a home. You keep the home together. You are a wonderful mother. I am proud to be your husband. Happy for you that you are able to blog as an outlet. You are a superstar here as well. You are loved by so many.



    Happy Birthday!



    Mark

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  8. Happy Birthday to you! Birthdays are important at our house, too, for the same reasons. Each of us get a special daywhere we are celebrated..it's wonderful! Hope you have a great one.

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  9. Just read the comment from Mark and if my eyes weren't misty before, they are now.

    Happy Birthday, Alexandra!

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  10. I am the same way. The cards from your kids are so precious. Thank you for sharing!

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  11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Alexandra!!!!!!!! Your post just made me cry! So beautiful! And you have AMAZING boys!!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

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  12. Happy Birthday!

    My girl turns 11 tomorrow. Thanks for the card ideas. I'm printing them out now and signing my name to them.

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  13. Aw, what great cards! Happy Birthday!

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  14. Oh, how I loved this!

    It seems like a lot of people make a big show of acting as if birthdays aren't important, are just days like any other. Truth is: They're not. Good for you for teaching your family - beginning with your groom - just how important it is to celebrate the existence of those we love.

    And? I'd like to wish you the happiest of birthdays. xo

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  15. I'm all teary eyed over here. I've always believed in doing birthdays up right too and once I'm told someone's birthday, I never forget it. I even remember my childhood friends' birthdays and the birthday of every boyfriend I've ever had! Not that I call them up or anything... that would be creepy...I just look at the calendar and say oh, it's so and so's birthday today.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! :)

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  16. Happy Birthday! I'm so glad you were born!!

    Also - I can now officially blame your 16 year old for ruining my mascara today. Love it.

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  17. Wow. Totally impressed with the male faction of your family. Happy birthday - it's my anniversary and my husband is in Geneva, but it's okay because I don't really have a thing about anniversaries. :)

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  18. All of you, you're just the best.

    In one morning, you're giving me such a day to be grateful for.

    You've really blessed me, all of you.
    Thank You.

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  19. Oh I so love this post. Birthdays are so important and I had no idea you and I were born two days apart. Happy Birthday to us!

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  20. Happy Birthday. I loved this, it gave me chills! There is nothing better than feeling special. What cute cards. My daughters birthday is this saterday. reading this inspired me to remember to let her know how much i love her and to make her feel special. Thank you. :)

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  21. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! The world truly is a better place because you were born.

    The cards are wonderful . . . as is the loving comment left by your husband.

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  22. So beautiful.

    Happy birthday, lovely woman.

    I am honored to know you.

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  23. Oh my. I loved this so much. I'm the same way. A nut about birthdays.

    So happy happy birthday!! You so deserve it. xoxo

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  24. Happy Alexandria Day.

    You are one of the kindest, warmest and most welcoming people in the blogoshpere. I am glad your real life people know it too.

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  25. Beautiful post - I am completely enthralled, and had to link to it on my own blog.

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  26. Happy Birthday, petty lady. I hope your day is as special as you wish it to be.

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  27. Happy, happy birthday. What a good guy you have, and you are raising wonderful, thoughtful children. I hope your day is everything you hope for.

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  28. Absolutely beautiful! Happy Birthday!

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  29. Happiest of birthdays! What a lovely man, and lovely boys you have.
    You count. You matter. You are loved. You make the world a better place.

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  30. Damn. I am in tears up in here. Those might be the sweetest cards I've ever seen.

    You sure are an "insparation". Happy, happy birthday! Glad you're here;)

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  31. Happy Birthday!! The cards are so sweet; what a blessing! I also loved the fun of the birthday picnic...great idea :)

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  32. Oh that is so sweet! Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day!

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  33. What a great story and beautiful cards. You are lucky to be surrounded by so many who care and a husband with great memory (survival instincts? =P)! Happy Birthday.

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  34. I bet that you have the most amazing birthday every year! And it looks like this year is no exception!

    I hope that the rest of the day is a good one!

    Happy Birthday!

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  35. Happy, happy birthday! Your boys and Mark did great. They are lucky to have you.

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  36. Happy Birthday Alexandra!! May you have a gorgeous day, a wonderful year ahead and many many more beautiful birthdays.

    The cards are lovely! I love Baby E's message, "the star in the night sky".

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  37. Happy Birthday to a woman who is truly inspirational!!

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  38. What a beautiful story. I figured he was going to turn out to be your husband. ;)

    Looks like you're raising those boys right. They know what's important, and not just because it's important to you.

    Happy birthday. I'm glad you were born. I'm glad you're in my life.

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  39. Sweetest post ever. Much happiness on your birthday, Alexandra. Hope you are having the great day you deserve.

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  40. "The Star of The Night Sky!!" This kid is the next Neruda :)) x

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  41. I. Am. Bawling.
    This is so sweet.
    You are special. Not only to the men in your life but to little old me in Canada. You...you...you are beutiful and inspiring and just an awesome person. I am very lucky to know you and call you a friend.
    I hope today is wonderful for you.
    Xoxo

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  42. I know, I know, my life isn't perfect..but it's pretty damn good, right?

    Right.

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  43. I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Candace

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  44. Happy birthday Alexandra, and I so enjoyed your post. Yours sons' cards, each is so beautiful, each is so different, but each must has brought tears to your eyes, and continued joy to your heart.

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  45. Ok, so now you have me in tears. This was such a beautiful post. Happy happy birthday to you!

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  46. Oh my, birthday girl.

    Look at the love you have gathered around you in these years so far.

    You are a lifetime's worth of light and inspiration; worthy of picnics and mini-cakes and homemade cards; a source of pride on top of it all.

    What wish can I offer in the face of such gifts?

    Many more years of this.
    Because it does not get any better.

    Love to you, lady.
    Even more than you already have.

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  47. Happy Birthday! The same day as my mother-in-law's I know I will never forget! ^_^

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  48. Happy happy birthday to you!

    I love that your husband took to heart what you said all those years ago and has carried that with him, as well as helping pass it along to the boys.

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  49. My birthday was always the one day a year I could usually count on not getting in trouble. The day that I could count on not getting hit, yelled at, or belittled. Instead I'd get a homemade cake. And presents. And unconditional love.

    So I understand the importance of birthdays.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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  50. My eyes have misted over. I love this view of birthdays! I am guilty of trying to blow them off. From this day forward, I am going to make a big deal, show my appreciation for those in my life on their big day! (And hope like hell they reciprocate!)

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  51. Gosh, I wish I had that much feeling about birthdays. I try to forget mine.

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  52. happy birthday!

    those cards make getting another year older totally worth it!

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  53. Aww Happy Happy Birthday dearest Alexandra! I heart you big time and so glad to have 'met' you in this blogsphere! Blogging wouldn't be the same without you :) xoxo

    PS: those cards are beautiful!

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  54. the cards are beautiful.... you are a lucky mom.

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  55. Happy Birthday! I hope your day was amazing! I love birthdays....

    I'm gonna get sappy here - so bear with me. My husband was born to his very young VERY single mother. She was 15 and he was born in the late 40s, so you can imagine the stigma.

    She persevered and loved him and kept him despite the enormous pressure to abort or give him up.

    .....after we got married for the remainder of her life, I sent her flowers on HIS birthday. It was the greatest birthday gift I could think of.

    Thank you for reminding me how special these days can really be!

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  56. Happy Birthday, my friend! You DO know how much you mean to me, no? Lifting up a glass of virtual champagne in your honor. Cheers! (And many more.)

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  57. Oh those cards melt my heart. And the date? He was obviously a keeper. Men that really "get it" are truly few and far between. Happiest of happy birthdays to you.

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  58. Happy Birthday Alexandra! Those cards from your boys are just precious. What sweet words for a wonderful mom.

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  59. My eyes are misting too. What a wonderful story. And for you it is real life. Best wishes for a special birthday in your special life.

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  60. Happy Birthday Alexandra! Your boys and your husband are truly treasures.

    P.S.Yesterday just happened to be My Husbands birthday as well. I happen to think people with September 21st birthdays are exceptionally Awesome ; )

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  61. This is so absolutely sweet, Empress.

    I cannot stand a card without a note - I love that your family "gets" that about you :-)

    And, of course, happy, happy birthday - you, who can make me smile or laugh or cry or go "aww shucks," seemingly without effort.

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  62. My Love and her family are the opposite. They rarely even acknowledge each other's B-Day. And they make me sad.

    Many happys ... belated.

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  63. Holy crap you have me in tears. How unbelievably touching. You have some real keepers.

    Happy birthday!! You happen to share the date with my bestie. Two great people celebrating life! That's awesome.

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  64. Good grief, this made me cry. I'm sorry I'm late for your birthday. I am sure it was perfectly lovely without me. You know, with all those thoughtful boys you have around you and all.

    Happy belated birthday!

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  65. Those cards make my heart go all soft and weepy!

    I hope you had a phenomenal day.

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  66. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEXANDRA! Man, it sucks when I'm a day late and a dollar short.

    It sounds like you had a truly wonderful, special day - and boy, Baby E stole the show with that card. I might have teared up but won't admit to it.

    And I agree - birthdays ARE special. My husband still hasn't fully grasped the concept.

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  67. I know I'm starting to get a little stalkerish...but I think I am your long lost sister or daughter or best friend. I remember telling many a boyfriend about Feb 6th was a big day, not to confused or combined with Feb 14th and that I would remind and wait and want to be celebrated that day just like I would do for them when it was their day.

    Those pictures and letters from your boys...oh my. My heart..they are so beautiful and creative and downright lovely. You are so lucky to have all four of those wonderful men in your life...and they are so lucky to have you..born on Sept 21st!

    How I adore you my friend xoxo

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  68. aww this made tears leak out. Happy belated birthday

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  69. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  70. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  71. What a good husband you have! Happy belated birthday.

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  72. Oh my goodness. How you write with such an open heart and so much feeling. You are totally inspiring and amazing. Thank you for so sharing yourself.

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  73. I knew you were going to marry him! I knew it!

    I have tears in my eyes.

    And happy happy birthday. I'm so glad you were born.

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  74. I am soooo late, in so many ways. Your post made me want to cry. I hope you had a wonderful birthday, and if you are anything like me, you will continue this birthday celebration for another week (at least)!!

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  75. I hope you had a great birthday!

    That's such a sweet story!

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  76. I'm so sorry I didn't get here to read sooner.
    I am a very emotional mother... friend.. person.
    I am misty eyed reading this.

    Happy HAPPY Birthday Alexandra!
    I know you had a wonderful day because you are surrounded by love.
    xoxoxo

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  77. What a sweet story about motherhood and being loved :)

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  78. Darling, happiest of birthdays! xo

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  79. Happy belated birthday. Those cards made my eyes moist they were so sweet. Our tradition is similar -- the homemade cards. Ain't a Hallmark made that can beat them.

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  80. Missed this by a week! Happy happy happy belated birthday to you, beloved. We were born three days apart! (I'm on the 24th)
    And I feel the same way about birthdays, and I used to should myself to not take them so personally.
    My 40th birthday weekend was fab, DH outdid himself, and I'm feeling cared for and supported. I'm so happy that you got all this love. you deserve all the love in the world. THank you for all the love that you add to mine, and may you grace this earth for many many more years to come.

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  81. Shivers, Alexandra. Shivers. Great way to end this.

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  82. Dear everyone:

    You ALL made my birthday so SO so much sweeter.

    You need to know that.

    Thank you.

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