Good Lord, am I really thirty-six?
In honor of my birthday here are a few of my very favorite birthday memories...
Birthday #1: okay, so I don't remember my first birthday, but I do have an original invitation that my mother hand made for my first birthday party. She cut and pasted tiny shapes to create the image of a little girl wearing a bonnet and on the back of each card she hand wrote a poem...
"Join us for some birthday fun,
Ellyn Elizabeth is turning One!"
I have pictures of me opening my presents (well, me sitting in my father's lap and he is opening my gifts for me) and me sitting in my high chair eating a piece of cake! All my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents were at my 1st birthday party!
Birthday #8: I remember this birthday because it was the first birthday after my parents were divorced, so I had two birthday celebrations (one with my mom and one with my father). I also remember this birthday because my best friend, Lana, was not able to attend my party because she was in the hospital sick from leukemia, she died the day after her 8th birthday, in August...I remember her 8th birthday too, we had a small party in the hospital and I gave her a stuffed animal. I specifically remember laying in my bed the next morning and hearing the phone ring very early (the sun hadn't even come up yet) and I remember having the thought process of the phone ringing that early must mean that Lana had died. My mother came into my bedroom and sat on the edge of my bed and rubbed my back as I cried myself to sleep.
Birthday #9: This birthday is significant because it was four days after my mother remarried my now step-father. They were on their honeymoon in Hawaii and I was home with my new grandma (my step-dad's mother) and my little brother. My mother and my step-dad called me to wish me a happy birthday from Hawaii and I thought that was the coolest thing EVER!
Birthday #13: This was HUGE! I got my ears pierced! I thought I was the cat's pajama's! :)
Birthday #16: My sweet sixteen....my most memorable birthday, but not for the typical "Sweet 16" reasons. Four days before my 16th birthday my mother gave birth to my youngest sister. Tiny, sweet, Brendan...born with a hole in her heart, a broken collar bone, a collapsed lung and foot and leg deformities. She was life flighted to the University Medical Center in Columbia, MO. My parents were told that the chances of her survival were very small. My grandmother (my mother's mother) was caring for my sister, my brother and me at home. I remember spending countless hours on the phone with my boyfriend, crying and scared that my baby sister would not live. My mother and father didn't sleep for days, the day of my birthday the doctors told my parents to go home for a few hours and shower and rest, they would call if anything changed. My mother sat in the front room, starring out the window, silently crying....meanwhile, my grandmother was in the kitchen cooking up some of my favorite foods (boiled shrimp, potato salad and cheesecake) for a birthday celebration.
....a little over a month later my baby sister came home! God healed her in BIG ways!! Baby Brendan turned twenty years old on Friday of last week! Although Brendan is a special needs child ("child" seems odd for a twenty year old, but she functions on a much younger level), we cannot imagine our lives without her...she is VERY special to all of us!
Birthday #22: I was pregnant with my son Hayden. He was born just shy of 60 days after my 22nd birthday!
Birthday #30: A group of my friends threw me a surprise party at Domenico's Restaurant! I was SHOCKED! About 40 people jumped up and down and yelled "SURPRISE" as I walked through the doors...I was very humbled!
And tomorrow I will celebrate #36....
...but my very favorite birthday memory, from the time I was 10 until my 24th birthday, my grandmother Czarlinsky (my mother's mother) would call me first thing in the morning of my birthdays and sing "Happy Birthday" to me. She passed away the November after my 24th birthday from breast cancer at the young age of sixty-four...
....I miss that more than anything.