Friday, March 1, 2013

Birthday Reflections

a time of reflection
a time to explore identity
a time to contemplate the future

Who am I?
I am not a baby boomer.
I was born while the world was at war.

I was born during a time when there was much uncertainty in the world.  My father, drafted into the army at age 29, left for his initial processing into the service the day I was born.  My father did not see me during the first year of my birth.  My mother cared for me and my brother by herself during this difficult time.  I treasure the photo snapped of the four of us on the occasion of my father's homecoming.  We celebrated Christmas in February that year because that is when he came home. 

 Who am I?
I like to identify with my Welsh ancestry the most.
I was born the day before St. David Day.  St. David was the patron saint of Wales.
Photo taken in Keukenhof, Holland
May 2010

When I think of my birthday, I think of daffodils.  Sometimes they are poking their heads out of the recently frozen earth on my birthday; other years, they are not.  Daffodils, the symbol of rebirth and new beginnings, are nearly always given to me by one or more of my children on my birthday.  (Click for last year's birthday blog post.) Each year I look forward to my first bouquet of these flowers that I have long claimed as my symbol.  I look forward to the reminder that spring is coming, winter is nearly over, and the rebirth of those long dormant flowers and trees will soon be seen.  I love these flowers because remind me to never give up hope.

Who am I?
I am a mom.
The greatest gifts I've ever received were not given to me on my birthday.
My five greatest gifts were and are my children.

The night before my birthday, my husband gave me a gift certificate to have my nails done a fancy spa.  He brought home a beautiful cake which we ate from the daffodil plates I display for Easter.  We celebrated early because I decided I wanted to celebrate my birthday with my daughter Amy.  I got up early, packed my bags, and headed north to her house.  We had lunch.  She made me a wonderful dinner of her new healthy taco salad.  She provided a yummy carrot cake for dessert.  She gave me a bouquet of daffodils buds.  She could not find any bouquets in bloom.   

Who am I?
I am a gardener.
I love to tend to my flowers. 
I learn lessons on life from the garden.

Was this bouquet a reminder of life?  Sometimes, the flower we are has not fully bloomed.  Sometimes, we are buried under six inches of earth that is still frozen.  

The gardener plants bulbs with great faith in the fall.  The gardener does not have the reward of seeing the beauty the bulbs bring until spring.  The bulbs are protected even in this frigid environment during those long, dark, cold, dreary winter days.  Once those days are over, the bulbs cannot help but break through the earth, grow, and bloom.  Even those bouquets that are picked too early, and cooled so they will not bloom before the public sees them, will bloom.  They will bloom because that is who they are.  They are daffodils.  

This morning, when I first got up, I was blessed by a beautiful sight.
Given a little warmth, the daffodil buds were beginning to open up and bloom.
I will remember this bouquet for a long time.
I will remember it as a reminder that after long winters of darkness,
the soul longs to bloom.
Sometimes, a bouquet is gathered too early, but that doesn't mean those buds won't bring beauty.
Thank you Amy, my beloved, for this special birthday gift.
May you always continue to grow and to bloom.
We all need an extra dose of love, warmth, and support in our lives to be fully who we are.
Thank you for being that special someone to me so many times in my life.
So many times, you have had the perfect word for me when I needed it most.
So many times, you have supported me when I needed it most.
So many times your wisdom spoke to me when no one else seemed to have the wisdom I needed.
You truly are my beloved.
Your name, Amy, beloved, fits you perfectly.
Thank you for letting me be that special someone to you.
I will always be here for you.

I love you.


Betsy Adams said...

Beautiful post, Sally.. Sounds like you had a wonderful birthday. Spending time with one of your kids had to be very special. I would LOVE that.

Love the old picture of you and your parents and brother. Awesome photo...I was born in 1942---and there were no extra baby beds in the small hospital where I was born. They had to put me in a dresser drawer.... Those WERE hard times.


LC said...

Oh the hope and assurance of rebirth after those various winters that enter our lives. This was a moving birthday post.

Kathleen McCoy said...

Happy Birthday, Sally! It sounds like you've had a lovely time with Amy and your beloved and the first signs of spring awakening. Interesting how birthdays make us take an emotional/spiritual inventory. Yours is absolutely lovely. I so enjoyed this post!

Kay said...

Ever since I saw daffodils in Illinois, I've loved them. They always fill me with joy. A symbol of spring, continuity and rebirth after a hard winter they fill me with hope. Daffodils are so very perfect for you, Sally. I especially love that photo of you at Keukenhof. That is definitely one of our all time favorite gardens in the world. Happy Birthday, Sally! Maybe this coming year bring you happiness, peace and fun.

troutbirder said...

Wonderful thoughts. And a good reminder of why I always wanted to visit that famous garden in Holland. I think it was that English poet who best described my favorite flower... the daffodil.

Mare said...

Loved walking thru your birthdays with you. Spring flowers that pop thru the earth are among my very favorite things!! This year I planted bulbs in containers and they have been doing 'cold time' in my garage. Yesterday I noticed the first promise of life!! I can't wait to see what it is! And what color! Happy birthday!!

Arkansas Patti said...

Such a beautiful and introspective post. The lines "Sometimes, the flower we are has not fully bloomed. Sometimes, we are buried under six inches of earth that is still frozen"
I thought especially profound. For we do,like the daffodil, eventually bloom.

DJan said...

What an absolutely lovely post, Sally. I enjoyed it so much, and I am thrilled that those beautiful daffodils have decided to make ME smile, too! Happy birthday and many, many more. :-)

Rose said...

Happy Birthday, Sally! A lovely post--there is no greater gift than a loving family. It sounds as though you have a wonderful, caring daughter.

I haven't been around much lately due to a full-time substitute teaching stint, but only a week--and mounds of papers to grade!--to go. I'm looking forward to seeing the daffodils emerge soon, too.

Jeanie said...

Beautiful, Sally. Thank you for sharing your birthday thoughts with us. I'm glad you had such a joyful birthday and I hope the coming year brings you much more joy.

Tom Sightings said...

Nice .. 'tis the time of year our hearts and minds turn to gardening, isn't it? Happy b'day!

Olga said...

Your reflections are always so poignantly lovely and this one is so open to the wonder of you. Happy Birthday wishes.

Perpetua said...

A beautiful, thoughtful post, Sally. Belated birthday greetings for the day before Saint David's Day. :-)

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

What a lovely post. I'm glad you talked about daffodils, because you remind me that the ones I planted, which are still under a lot of snow, will show their cheery faces in six weeks or so. I'll think of you when they do!

Linda Myers said...

What a nice birthday reflection!

Friko said...

Any time I come here your post is bursting with love. I really admire you and your great capacity to open your heart.

Happy Birthday wishes from me to you. Health and Happiness for the new year!

#1Nana said...

My daffodils are only a few inches out of the ground, but they are visibly growing everyday. I will think of you when they bloom. I'm so glad you had a great birthday with Amy...isn't it nice to be at that place in life where you can make those decisions to do exactly what you want on your birthday?

KathyA said...

Oh Sally! How articulate you are! Do you think daffodils are related to leeks? Wouldn't that fit nicely to celebrate your Welsh heritage and St. Davy's Day? Happy Birthday!

Jeanie said...

Belated birthday greetings, Sally! May daffodils continue to surround you forever! I loved this post -- it was such a thoughtful declaration of self and we all need to do that at times. I love your garden analogy of having faith that those bulbs will come. And yes, it applies to everything we do -- the first writing on a page or ink on paper. Your eloquent writing, love of family and life never ceases to amaze me. May you have many more birthdays to continue to enjoy!

thisisme said...

Hi there Sally. Another beautifully written post. It is always such a pleasure to come over here to your Blog. Daffodils are truly beautiful, aren't they. I suppose because they are first real signs that spring is on its way. A few weeks ago, my hubby brought me in a little bunch of daffodils from the garden, and ever since then, it has been bitterly cold over here. I really do hope that it will warm up very soon. I'm so glad you got to spend your birthday with Amy. It really makes it that little bit more special, doesn't it? Lovely to see you here today. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to you, our daffys as I call them are pushing thru and we have had snow, ice and winds oh, my..I love the daffys, we have purple crocuses and some grape hyacinths pushing thru..Your blogs are a wonderful testatment to love and affection, when I read them I almost cry, my own mum was a pisces like you only on St. Josephs day march 19th she was close to nature and people, animals, never hated or disliked any living person and or animal..She embodied love the small time she was on this terrestrial..Happy Birthday and happy year and years to come, may you always have daffy's to hold and share and many many moments of LOVE! xxxx()()()()()

Grandmother said...

Happy Birthday. Good for you for seeking your path and acknowledging your gifts and thanks for sharing with us.

Linda Reeder said...

March means daffodils to me, too. I love them. they were the flowers in the bouquets in my March wedding. When our daughter was due in early March 40 years ago, we called her Daffodil, not knowing what she/he would be. I always have daffodils for her birthday. and yes, here too, my bouquet of buds was not quite open for our birthday dinner last night, but thy are going golden today.
and outside, the little mini tete-a-tete daffs are beginning to bloom.
Happy Birthday. This was a lovely post.

Dee said...

Dear Sally, this philosophical posting displays the wisdom that can come with age and seems to have come to you. I think that wisdom doesn't come unless we find the core of meaning of all that happens to us. I'm searching for that in my blog, which is an on-line memoir. You have searched and found so much wisdom in nature and in your family and in your past. Thank you for sharing it. Happy Birthday and Peace.

dkzody said...

Lovely birthday post as it gives words to your appreciation for your life. The daffodils are extra special. Ours are blooming in California. They are definitely a symbol of what is to come. Hope is a precious gift.

Lorna said...

I also am a retired teacher of English As A Second Language. I am a widow and enjoy keeping up this house. I would like to return and keep up with your posts.


Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Sally it's such a lovely post. Yes for sure we all seek to be loved and cared for and pampered but like you so carefully say here we must be thankful to those who care as well. May many more daffodils brighten your spirit.

Maggie May said...

What a lovely post, filled with love.
Daffodils are beautiful and that phot of you with them is lovely.
Its trying to snow here and is very cold.
Maggie x

Nuts in May