Some Birthdays Are Quiet

A cardinal has been visiting our seven-sons flower tree for the past week, alighting among its salmon seed-heads. We’ve never seen them feast on this plant before, but there it was, a little crimson beacon against a bright but sky. Andy’s Mom must be watching over him during his birthday month. There are always signs that lost loved ones are around, and as I watched the magnificent bird come back for a few days I realized that this will be a difficult time for Andy.

He has never been one for a big birthday celebration. He’d prefer dinner with a select few at his favorite restaurant. This year he wanted something even more low-key: a dinner at home with no one. As it was his birthday, I obliged, even though I was a bit puzzled because he usually wants at least a dinner out. Then I understood: this was his first birthday without his father too. 

I did what I could. A big bouquet of pink roses. Tickets to a show at Proctor’s. A slew of birthday cards. A cake and a lemon pie. And a shrimp cocktail – a favorite of his. He was appreciative, but I could tell he was down. The first birthday as an orphan, no matter how old one gets, must make for a conflicting state of emotions. I felt a profound sadness in being so helpless to make anything better for him. 

The next day he was in better spirits. Temperatures had risen. The sun was out. Our pool was heated and might just give us one more day of use. A chipmunk sat on the back patio, perched on a lawn chair. Life continued on, and I realized that Andy must feel a sense of relief that another birthday was done. Sometimes the pressure and expectation of a day to be happy and fun takes away all of its genuine joy. 

We moved on with the hope that next year will be better. 

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