Yep, Gamma had a birthday on November 11. My birthday hasn't been a typically happy event. We buried my father on November 10, 1982. It was the year I turned 21. No one was in a particularly celebratory mood. I was living with my then-boyfriend-turned-husband-turned-ex-husband and it just wasn't the happy occasion we had planned on it being. My dad was a tortured soul but he was mine. I usually sink into a deep depression in November as it's also the month my wonderful Grannie died. November has not typically been a happy month.
Anyway, when I woke up last Thursday and my beautiful granddaughter said "Happy Birthday Gamma" - all pitiful as she was on her way to the doctor - I lay in bed a while (contemplating taking a sick day) and thought about the best birthday I ever had.
Allow me to set the scene. We (my daughter and I) had been living in NC only a couple of years. She was about 7 years old and we were enjoying our new state. My mom was living here then and as conflicted as our relationship has been, we were having some really good times during the first few years when baby girl and I moved to NC.
My mom didn't drive but my daughter was determined to make my birthday a special event (she planned the whole day herself). She said we had to go pick up Nanny (my mom). I was then ordered to drive them to Kroger where the two of them went inside and picked up decorations -- balloons, a big old chocolate chip cookie with Happy Birthday Mom on it and other party supplies. Keep in mind, even though I was driving I was instructed not to look at anything so I ignored the balloons and other bags of goodies and awaited instructions. I was ordered to drive downtown to one of our favorite parks, Grace Court in the West End (still one of my faves). I parked while they went to decorate the gazebo.
I'm not supposed to know anything special is happening so being the good mommy that I was, I played along. My daughter came back to the car and walked me to the gazebo telling me not to look. When we stepped up I was allowed to open my eyes and my feast was before me. NOTE: I've got pictures (but no scanner) so when I get to a scanner I'm going to post them in. That is the actual gazebo and it was a sunny day as depicted in this picture.
I, of course, was so surprised and my daughter was pleased that she had accomplished the impossible -- planning a surprise party for her mom who had to drive them to pick up everything and to my own party.
It's kind of hard to convey the beautiful weather, the true joy on my daughter's face as she anxiously stared at me hoping she had pulled off her surprise, the smile on my mom's face as she enjoyed her daughter and first granddaughter enjoying a truly joyous moment.
That was a good birthday. So instead of lying in bed and sinking into a depression last Thursday, I remembered my favorite birthday and went to work smiling.