[Come summer heat, much of my blogging momentum melts away. Hence an experiment until Labor Day: fifty minimalist posts about whatever.]
When I was a young child, July 16 was one of the two dates in the calendar I knew as well as my own birthday. It was the day my mother was born. The other was January 18, my father’s birthday. They were as important to me as Christmas and the presents it brought.
The year she turned forty, my mother turned her back on July 16. “Don’t remind me!” she said. It was the era of pin-up girls. She must have felt she was finished. (She would live another forty-nine years.) She didn’t understand the birthdays of the people we love are worth celebrating no matter how many have come before, because we’re so glad they’re here for us to love.
My mother hasn’t been here to love for more than two decades. After I grew up, she also made loving her very hard for me. She didn’t succeed. I think of her every July 16. I probably always will.