Today would have been my mom’s 60th birthday.
It’s a Saturday, so we would have both slept late, but I would have gotten up earlier than her and cleaned the house while she was still sleeping.
I would have written a Happy Birthday note and taped it to the bathroom mirror, where we both always taped our reminder notes.
We would have lounged around and watched cooking shows on PBS while we drank chocolate coffee (well, mine would be just chocolate, because coffee bothers me) and talked about this and that and plans for the weekend.
We would have gone to Panera for lunch. Mom would have gotten the Chicken Cobb Salad without the Avocado and the dressing on the side. I would have gotten the Italian Combo sandwich with the sauce on the side (and taken off the roast beef and the salami and the lettuce) and the Greek salad with the dressing on the side. She was and I still am a very picky eater. She would have gotten a brownie and I would have gotten a chocolate chip cookie and we would have split them so we both got some of each.
We would have gone shopping. If she found something she liked, I would have declared “my treat” and bought it for her. Then I would have handed her the bag and said, “Happy Birthday, sorry I didn’t have time to wrap it!”
We would have gone to a store that sells greeting cards. I would have browsed through them and then called mom over and said, “Here, I pick this one. Happy Birthday!” Then she would have read it and said, “Oh, that’s sweet, thanks!” and put it back on the rack, because we thought it was a waste of money to get each other cards we were just going to eventually throw away when we already saw each other every day.
We would have eaten dinner out. Her choice of restaurants. No input from me.
We would have looked at the grocery store bakery for a white cake with butter cream frosting. If we could find one that wasn’t frosted in a hideously neon frosting, we would have bought it. If not, she would have opted to bake something herself.
We would have watched a movie at home. Even on her birthday, picking the movie was always my job. I was good at picking the right movie for the mood of the day. It would have definitely been a classic movie. Maybe one of her favorites like, My Reputation. You can’t go wrong with Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent. Or a nice, fun, romantic comedy like I Met Him In Paris with Claudette Colbert, Melvyn Douglas, and Robert Young. I might have picked that this year since there is 8 inches of snow outside our house and the movie takes place at a ski resort in Switzerland. Or maybe I would have picked something new I had discovered that she hadn’t seen yet, but I knew she would like.
At the end of the movie she would have said, “This was a fun day! I declare this day one of My Birthday Week!” Birthday week meant you got to make all food and entertainment decisions with little or no interference from the other person and any differences of opinion for that week ended with the words, “I’m invoking Birthday Week”. We both did the birthday week thing every year, but you still had to officially declare it.
We would have had a fun day together. And we would have ended it with one of my favorite longtime running bits of ours that we had been saying since I was in elementary school.
ME: You’re my favorite mom in the whole wide universe!
MOM: And you’re my favorite daughter!
(Then in secretive “don’t let the word get around” voices)
MOM: I love you more than all the other kids.
ME: You don’t have any other kids.
MOM: I know…and you’re STILL my favorite.
Happy Birthday, Momma! I sure do love you!
And I sure do miss you.