WRITING SHORT: 5/50

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[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.

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18 thoughts on “WRITING SHORT: 5/50

  1. Nina, I just skip over my parent’s later years. Not so great thinking about their age related problems. I go back to better younger years and hang onto those memories. Dad born in July, Mom in August. I’ll think of them again and again. Christine

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    • A wise approach, Christine. Unfortunately, it wasn’t age-related problems that made my mother hard to love. Beginning in my teens, when she was in her early forties, she began to disapprove of everything I did and was; she had apparently wanted another sort of daughter — although she probably couldn’t have said what sort that was — and was more and more disappointed with the one she had. It’s easier to understand and love her now that she’s gone.

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  2. My mother died at the age of 68 from emphysema as a result of smoking….so I still remember her as an attractive, stylish and vibrant woman. It saddens me to have not seen her into old age when I would have had her for a longer time…I do think of her on her birthday which is March 18.

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  3. Birthdays do seem to vary from family to family. My parents didn’t bother with birthdays for a bit and then they took them up again as they got older. After my mother died, my father’s birthday became a really good annual get-together.

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  4. That sounds as though you came from a much larger family, Hilary, than my small nuclear one. There were only the three of us ever in the United States. And it’s not that my parents particularly “bothered” with their birthdays. It was me, their child, who wanted to make something of those two days, just as they made a a special day out of mine.

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    • Thanks, Rita. To think: it’s twenty-five years ago this summer that we met! Yes, short is easier to read than long. Not easy to write, though! I hope I can make it through the next 45 of them!

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      • Rita Stewart

        I have great faith in that you will be able to make it through the next 45….Was it really 25 years ago??? That was an amazing meeting I have to say…two strangers who are still friends after all that time!! Its the stuff of novels, haha!

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