Yesterday it was my birthday. From start to finish it was a lovely day. Being St Patricks Day there was an air of celebration and holiday around which I like to pretend was because it was my birthday.
My youngest is still at the age where she is excited by birthdays. She loves to give presents and then spends the rest of the day planning the party that evening. The cake has to be made and all manner of rubbish bought for the celebration.
Yesterday was a day when I was very much spoiled. Breakfast in bed, presents, cards, phone calls and texts. Friends took the time to call and to bring gifts or birthday wishes. It was lovely, and I felt much loved. Everything a birthday should be.
However there was a part of me which could not celebrate. Despite the happiness and the spoiling a part of me wept silently. I kept it well hidden, and made sure I didn’t rain on anyones parade, but it was there beneath the surface. Something only I felt.
Despite the happiness of the day, I couldn’t stop thinking of young Dan. I’m not sure why, but on my birthday I just couldn’t get him out of my head. With every present and good wish I thought of him.
When Dan was at home I used to call over to see him most days. When I did I would often bring a little something for him. It might be a slushie, for when his mouth was blistered, or cosy socks or a fleece blanket, or his favourite sweets, or ice cream. Very occasionally I brought him a bigger present, but it was usually something small. Sometimes his mom would get cross and give out about me bringing gifts, but then to Dan’s delight I would say to her with a smile, “You are not the boss of me, I can bring him something if I wish”. Dan would enjoy our disagreement, his face would light up and he would be so thankful for what ever I brought large or small.
So yesterday as I received my gifts I was reminded of Dan.
I knew that if he were alive he would have given me a gift (bought and paid for by his mother!). As the day went on I couldn’t get that thought out of my head, that this year there would be one gift I would not receive and one I wanted so very badly.
Then yesterday evening Dan’s mom, a close friend of mine called over. She came with a bag of gifts. A beautiful gift from herself and one from her sister, but she also had one more.
As I unwrapped it I knew, without being told, that it was from Dan. I didn’t tear up, but it was very hard not to. Inside the lovely wrapping was a box which held an ornament. A beautifully crafted angel. A young boy saying thank you.
I cannot describe how I felt. I didn’t tell his mom, for fear I would break down, but I will tell you now. I felt like I had got my wish. Of all the gifts I had received, I had got the one I truly wanted. I had my gift from Dan, and it meant the world to me.
I understand that Dan didn’t actually give it to me, and that he had no part in it’s choosing, but I don’t care. Because in my sitting room today is my angel. A tangible reminder of the handsome, cheeky, lovely young boy who left too soon. A gift I will always cherish.
It’s over. Dan is gone, but I am so delighted to have this one last memory.
Yesterday was indeed a most perfect birthday.