Birthday Cards

I haven’t kept it quiet that this is my birthday week, but today is my actual birthday. I’m actually 23. Seems crazy. I’m a pretty nostalgic person, I like to think it’s because I had such a wonderful childhood.

One of the reasons my childhood was so wonderful was due to my great grandparents. Living in a small town and just a few minutes away meant frequent early pickups from preschool and lots of spur of the moment sleepovers.

I can still recite their address and phone number.

They were simply known as Mamaw and Papaw, and they meant the world to me. Despite being one of many grandchildren and great grandchildren, they were able to make me feel like I was their one and only.

When I was born in 1990, they were celebrating their 50th anniversary. They were as southern as southern gets, except about sweet tea. They never had that. But, make it in time for breakfast and you could get some of the best biscuits and fried eggs imaginable. And if you stayed til the 10 o’clock news, you’d be offered some coffee. (I drank it black, sharing the saucer with Papaw. Probably why I’m only 5’3.)

They left their doors unlocked, even when they went on trips. Always leaving a note to let us know where they had gone and when they would be back.

They got their water from a spring in northern Alabama.

They never had a microwave.

They taught me how to play Dominos. And Uno. And Trouble. And pool.

They let me sleep with them when I believed there was a monster in the guest bedroom. (I still think there was one.)

They told me about the Sand Man when I wouldn’t fall asleep.

They brought me presents on my siblings birthdays. (Two siblings in 16 months is rough on a former only child of five years.)

They stopped at the gas station every Sunday night after church to buy me a snack.

In short, they spoiled me.

While I have very distinct moments with each of them, individually and as a pair, Mamaw had one particular characteristic.

She sent cards. All kinds of cards, but especially birthday cards. And if you were a family member, a birthday phone call.

Many times I would be woken up to learn Mamaw and Papaw were on the line to tell me happy birthday. And when I would see them later in the day I would get my birthday card.

It was something I looked forward to, no matter how old I was.

But, I didn’t get that birthday card or phone call three years ago, just six days after Mamaw had passed away. It stung, but thanks to great friends and family, I made it through.

Mamaw and Papaw were such a big part of my life, and provided me with so many lessons and so much love. While I used to find my birthday memories with them very bittersweet, today I am thankful I have such memories to recall. All those memories make me light up inside. And today, I celebrate.

So here’s to 23!

Hope you all have a great weekend, I sure plan to.

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