I Said “Happy Birthday” First

One of the greatest and most amazing parts of my life is that I shared a birthday with my grandma. AND so does my cousin Tamma’s son, Tristan. Isn’t that fun?! Three generations, so far, share March 5th.

I don’t remember how it started, but we have always had a race to see who got to tell the other one happy birthday first. I don’t remember midnight calls, although an aunt said we did that early. My memory is early mornings. That we had to go to sleep first.

When I was young it might have even been REALLY EARLY. It was always so fun to think all the night before if I could tell her before she could tell me, and I imagine she really enjoyed it as much as I did.

There was the year right after my friend Courtney died where we cried together in the morning when she called me. The year she (and mom and Leanna) showed up at midnight at my sorority house to take me out for my first adult beverage. Although, grandma showed up, hugged me and went home to bed. When I whispered birthday calls while Cory was asleep next to me and he thought I was sleep talking birthday messages to myself And when we started calling Tamma to include Tristan in our birthday ritual.

When I had little babies I always won. She was too afraid of waking me from what little sleep I was getting at the time.

As a kid it was a fun race, as an adult it became the perfect start to a birthday celebration.

See, Grandma really really wanted a family. She and Papa Doc wanted children so badly. They worked hard and went through multiple miscarriages. It was medication that finally helped her carry her first child to term. And fertility is not the same back then.

But as bad as she (and they) wanted kids, they loved and adored having grandkids.

All of us.

I told Grandma just a few weeks before she died that one of the best gifts she ever gave me was making me feel like I was the most special in the world. Even though I knew she made us all feel like that. That was their gift. There were too many of us to have favorites. But ask any of us and we would probably all say that we were “the one.”

I thought today was going to be devastatingly sad. And don’t get me wrong, I am writing this through lots of tears, but honestly I feel grateful. I am thankful that Grandma was mine. I am honored that I get to share this day with her and have so many memories, not just of growing up, but of the times I was with her as an adult.

So instead of being sad on my birthday I am going to lean into all the amazing memories I have of this day because I was lucky enough to share it with her.

And now, I will put the computer down and call Tristan and continue to try to be the first to wish him happy birthday first.

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