Blow the Candle Out  5/4/2015
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For the first time in the history of my life, my parents forgot my birthday. Intellectually, I knew it would happen. My mother was always the keeper of the calendar, the one who did birthday and anniversary cards, sent out the beautifully glittered cards at Christmas, initiated the phone calls that began with Happy _______, and then filled in the blank with whatever holiday or important occasion it was.

I was surprised at how much it hurt, even knowing that she can no longer differentiate one day from another. I guess I expected my father to pick up the slack, to step in and take over for her, but at some years older than she is, he’s having enough trouble just getting through the hours. I didn’t realize just how much it bothered me until I found I couldn’t even write about it until now.

It isn’t only the shattering of a tradition so ingrained that it’s second nature. It’s the realization that I’m no longer someone’s child, and that the people who have been my support system no longer exist. It’s the facing of a reality I hate with everything I have in me, and the knowing that it doesn’t matter whether I hate it or not. It is, and it won’t change.

Our roles have reversed, the torch has been passed, and although it happens to everyone whose parents live a long time, I wasn’t ready for it. I’m grateful they’re still here when so many have lost theirs. That I can still pick up a telephone and talk to them, even if the conversations are somewhat bizarre. Believe me, I am. And I know these feelings will fade, and that if my mom and dad are with me next year, this won’t hurt as much. I’ll be prepared for it. It won’t be such a surprise. But somewhere inside me still is the little girl who anticipated her birthday for weeks and woke up on the morning of, ready for her party, only to find out there wasn’t one. 

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