I celebrated my birthday last week, surrounded by the love of family: What a joyful occasion. I’ve thought about past celebrations and how tremendous it was to be remembered and loved. One such birthday was a real hoot.

As you know, my mother’s birthday also was in May. Years ago, we were having family over to celebrate her day; because of busy calendars, the party was scheduled before both of our birthdays. While preparing some snacks, I looked out the window and saw a group of my friends coming down the driveway. This is strange—I hadn’t invited any friends, just our family. As they walked in the door, I asked:

“Hi guys, how come you’re here?” Oh, Lord, I knew I didn’t have enough food for this added group! In the meantime, I didn’t notice my family gathering behind me.

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“Surprise! Happy birthday, Mom! We finally ‘gotcha.’ You’ve always figured out when we planned a party for you and now we finally put one over on you!” There was laughing and lots of high fives!

Needless to say, I took a lot of teasing about my first failure as a detective. My husband and kids thought of everything: They had hidden more food and a birthday cake at the neighbor’s. We had a great time making a sweet memory.

Another extraordinary birthday gift was more recent. I went to the Westchester Broadway Theatre on a Saturday evening to see “Mary Poppins” with my lovely stepdaughter, Valerie, handsome son-in-law, Kurt, and supercute grandchildren, Nick, age 11 (now 15), Brennan, age 8 (now 13), and Brianna, age 6 (now 10).  

We loved this whimsical, magical show and enjoyed the lively music and spirited dancing. I was impressed at how well-mannered and grown-up the kids were; they knew exactly what to order for dinner and quietly commented on the food, stage and other kid-friendly subjects.  Kudos to Val and Kurt, you’ve taught your children well!  
The kids thoroughly enjoyed the show and marveled at the wire rig that brought Mary Poppins from up above the audience down to the stage—I did, too!  Within minutes after we left the parking lot, there was complete silence from the back seat.

Everyone was asleep! Brianna had made a birthday card for me. Unedited, it read:  “Happy, happy brithday, Gramopps. I love you and you are pritty. Love Brianna.”  

What a fun, joyful and loving evening spent with my family. Add this remarkable evening to my growing book of memories!
So, my friends, one more birthday has passed: another year of love, thanks to God and memories. I’ll take as many more gifts as come my way!