Monday would have been Mom’s 69th birthday. It’s difficult to take that in because the last birthday I spent with her was her 60th which was three month’s before she died.
My brothers and I have unintentionally started a new tradition: on birthdays and anniversaries we meet for dinner, regardless of how we feel about one another those days, and we reminisce about times we were all together with Mom. The stories usually end up being about a time that one of us got angry at someone else (either she was mad at one of us or one of us threw a temper tantrum) because those tend to be the funniest and most memorable.
I have begun to notice that when I ask for a story, my big brother pauses to think, trying hard to remember one.
Recently, the stories have begun to repeat because there are only so many memories with her and there will be no new ones which make these celebrations rather bitter-sweet.
Despite this, I find myself looking forward to this new quasi-tradition we have created, if for no other reason than it forces us to talk about her and keep her memory alive, because once we hit a decade without her, I worry that the memories will become hazier and hazier.
So, it won’t be a particularly happy birthday, but it’ll be as good as it can be.