As a young girl, I remember my mother sewing me a special dress of flowered cotton just before my big day. She braided my long hair of dark blonde before tying ribbons to match near the bottom of each. Then a kiss on my pink cheek. Both, I think.
Ding-dong, the front doorbell rang. Mother made a huge production of who might be standing behind the honey colored, wooden door. I remember getting so excited until I jumped up and down in my patent leather, May Jane shoes. The bell rang again. Slowly, Mother opened the door. I clapped my hands. “Open it, open it,” I begged! My heart skipped a beat. Slowly, Mother turned the shiny brass of the round knob to open the door. It squeaked and swung inside to the right. It was Daddy! Daddy stood behind the honey colored, wooden door
I remember my father being all dressed up in his very best suit and tie, probably his only suit and tie. I was four or five years old at the time, with love spilling out of every pore. He smiled before coming inside. Within the two of his hands, he held a white box, the kind I had never seen before. Handing it to me, Mother helped the two of us open it. Inside was a corsage made of a single pink carnation accented with a beautiful satin bow. If I close my eyes tight, I can smell the sweet scent of it even now. Mother helped Daddy pin the corsage on my pretty new dress. I remember the pin was long and silver. At the end, it had a beautiful pearl of white. Seconds later, I learned my daddy was taking me on a date, just the two of us!
This soon became a birthday tradition for me. For several years, I pretended to be surprised when the doorbell rang at the sight of my father just before dinnertime. Every year he carried a flower corsage and fumbled with his fingers when he tried to pin it to my new dress. Mother rescued him from the shadows each and every year. My father was ever the gentleman, opening the car door for me, taking my arm when we went into a restaurant and helping to pick out magic music on the jukebox. I remember dancing atop his shoes in ruffled stockings on my feet……Afterward, we went to the famous Bay City, City Dairy where we gobbled hot fudge sundaes while sitting on red stools at their Formica counter.
In looking back those were treasured birthdays for me. Traditions created by my mother, no doubt. Oddly enough, I didn’t think of them yesterday which was my birthday. No, the memories flooded me today. Why? Because it’s my mother’s birthday. I’ve been thinking of her all day long. How selfless she was! It was always about my birthday, never about hers which fell the very next day. I suppose this is what all mother’s do.
Happy 80th Birthday, Mother. Thank you for who you were, for all you gave to me and others, and for the memories held deep within my heart. I love you yesterday, today and tomorrow.