I’m embarrassed.  I wrote a personal essay called “Birthday Blues” which I included in the August chapter of All Nature Sings.  It was a tale of being forgotten on my birthday the year after my mom, Casey, died.  Even from the retirement center, she had never failed to send a card with $10 tucked inside to me, and each person within her large family, exactly on their day.  My siblings and I wondered if she was making up for our childhood birthdays.  The first three of the five of us had birthdays within one week’s time—but alas mine was first.  She would notice a sadness overtaking me and ask what was wrong.  “It’s my birthday and no one even cares!” I wailed.  “Oh, my, we’ll have to have a cake sometime this week to celebrate all your birthdays!”

    It was that all that got to me—I wanted my day to be special.

   The essay must have touched a universal nerve.  This August 28, my mailbox was filled with birthday greetings—so many feeling sorry for me, and maybe themselves, at the thought of being forgotten.  The cards were only the beginning—after getting long-stem multicolored roses from my husband, I was surprised by two impromptu celebrations—one with apple crisp (from one of those siblings) and then with lunch and cake and ice cream, served by three grandchildren, two of whom along with their mom also have August birthdays.

   Maybe I should not be embarrassed, only reminded.  Everyone wants to feel special one day of the year—not because of something they do but only because they live and are present among us.  My friends and readers, by their thoughtfulness, demonstrated again that every life is precious, including my own.