Skip to main content

It's my birfday!

"... joy and sorrow are inseparable. . . together they come and when one sits alone with you . . . remember that the other is asleep upon your bed."
- Kahlil Gibran

It's my birfday.

Well, it was 4 days ago anyway.

Mom and Dad came to visit. They brought Luke and Amy. That was the best. We went to Bob & Judy's for lunch and RED VELVET cake and ice cream and stupendous presents. I got flowers from Will and Stacy and lots of cards and e-cards and even a phone call from Uncle Rufus. It was a great day.

We came home, and the neighborhood girls (Kate & Amy, too) decorated my entire house. They created "David's Restaurant" in my living room with a jungle theme. Kate told us to get ready for dinner. I told her that Deb and I had plans to go out. Tears welled up in her eyes. Okay, change of plans. Call Deb. Tell her there's a new joint in town we absolutely must check out. She agrees, so mom and I were dispensed to the store to buy pineapple, whipped cream and mystery meat. We bought a coconut, too.

We waited in the hallway to be seated and read Tiger Beat magazine. We were escorted past palm trees and banana centerpieces. Dave's voice sang to us. Candles blazed on every table. We ordered from carefully lettered menus. Our courses came, one after the other, brought by earnest little waitresses and prepared with much noise and commotion behind the curtain.

We were treated to a monkey puppet show and a birthday song and dance. After giant tips, Deb, Mom and I cleaned up the easy feat, I assure you, and served our little chefs ice cream sundaes in tall, tall wine glasses. (Koda later broke them trying to get at the ice cream, but oh well.)

Then Deb, Mom and I went to the brew pub and visited for a while.

All in all, 44 isn't so bad. And it was a little fun to make a big deal about my birthday again. It comes only two days after Dave's death anniversary, and the last two, I've wanted to just ignore. Dave always made a HUGE deal out of my birthday. I was queen for a day. Flowers, candy, breakfast in bed, dinner out and jewelry in a little wrapped box.

Now unless you think he was simply an exceptional husband, there was more to the story. The first year that Dave and I were married, I had to work on my birthday. I get home...empty house. No cell phones in the 80's, so I waited around. Anticipating his arrival for an hour or so. Feeling sad and lonely for the next hour or so. Then rapidly moving from irritated to royally pissed to maybe a bit worried. I called around and found him at the West End Tavern.  With Doug. They are having my birthday party without me, it seems. They'd gone shopping for my present and stopped at the West End for a $2 pitcher. I think they had more than $2 left over after my present was purchased.

So they stumble home. And lock themselves in the back room. Laughing. Running out for a hammer. Lots of pounding. Some cussing. And lots of arm-crossing and foot-tapping by yours truly.

Eventually they come out. They have my present balanced between them. They've built me a....drum roll please....MICROWAVE CART! "HAPPY BIRFDAY!" they shout.

Hmmmm....okay, it wasn't a power drill or a vaccuum cleaner, but a microwave cart??? Not exactly what a new bride is dreaming of. When my reaction is less than gracious, they were bewildered. Bewildered, I tell you. They had NO idea that this was not gloriously fun for me. They were so cute. I had to forgive them. Although I never let either of them forget it.

The next year, Doug bought me flowers and baked me a cake (from scratch...two round layers! I have a picture someplace...I'll have to find it) and Dave took me out to dinner on Commencement Bay and gave me an amethyst ring in a truffle box. Happy Birfday to me!

Happy birfday to me.

Oh, here's a pic of Koda...her ears came at a time!

"She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts."
- George Eliot

"When we are no longer able to change a situation …
we are challenged to change ourselves."
Victor Frankl


  1. Belated Happy Birthday My Friend. .

    I am glad that your family made it a big thing. You do so much for everyone I am sure it was pure enjoyment for them to do for you! Our Morgan's Birthday is one day after my Dad's Death Anniversay and its the pits we really try to make it big for her so I am glad they did the same for you. All my love and I know 44 will be great.

  2. The Mouat Clan8/30/2007 12:04 PM

    So glad you had a good Birfday Shelley! Like we said, we are sad to have missed it in person, but sooo excited about being close enough to come by next year and deliver you hugs and presents in person! Still waiting for the house to sell here before we can move up to La Grande, but (though I do wonder what the plan is sometimes)God knows what He is doing with the delay here. He keeps reminding me He didn't bring us to the "Red Sea" only to watch us drown in it. :o) Soon enough I guess. Lots of e-hugs and Mouat loves heading your way. Have a great day!!

    Will and Stacy

  3. Happy (somewhat belated) Birthday Michelle,
    How sweet of the girls to do what they did. The thought they put into it says so much about their character.
    Good quotes you included.
    That is so funny that Dave and Doug thought they did so good with the microwave cart. Sometimes men need a little coaxing, but they learned quick with a red velvet cake and a nice box with a nice surprise the next year.
    Take care Michelle. Thought I might of saw you in Dayton today. Wasn't sure though. Take care, Sherri

  4. Michelle, Happy Birthday a bit late. Guess better late than never, so they say. I understand your birthday being only 2 days after Dave's passing how hard that is. Both of my parents passed on my birthday 8 years apart. Birthdays just arn't what they use to be.
    I am glad your family treated you so well. You deserve it you do so much for others.

  5. Chellebelle,

    How'd I miss your birfday??!!! Happy happy. 44 isn't so bad at all, esp. when you are staring down 50 something......those kids, wow. wow. love that restaurant, love it. What dears. How fun. How sweet. And Miss Kate, oh dear. Growing up. So clear in the pics now. Darling. good thing she has big brothers to protect her.
    you're doing good Chelle, you are. better days ahead, somewhere. They are there. love and hugs dear friend.

  6. I guess we all have a birfday/death day relationship. My mother-in-law died the day after my daughter turned 7. I firmly believe she did so intentionally so she didn't scar the day for her granddaughter. Eleven years later, when I think of her, I always thank her for hanging on for one more day. As for your day, wow! What great kids, and what fun that sounds like. You deserved the royal treatment you got! :)

    --Patti in NJ

  7. Hi Michelle and family,

    Thanks for sharing what you did for your birthday with us. One things for sure....You are loved!!

    Hugs and prayers,
    from Iowa


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


So I had my first Walla Walla goodbyes.
The first was my eye doctor, Dr. Poffenroth.
He's taken care of my eyes for 25 years.
He's more than just an eye doctor.  He's a caring person and a friend.
As I left my last appointment, he handed me a card with a referral to a friend of his who practices in Port Angeles.
I looked at the card.
And realized...I won't see him again.

I've been living in a bit of denial.
I know.  Big surprise.

With all the excitement and chaos of moving,
And all the stress of living in limbo,
I somehow missed that I'd be leaving some things
some people

I know I'll be back often.
To see my kids and the new grandbaby,
friends and family.
This fact allowed me to forget...
there are some I won't see.

Even though we promise to keep in touch,
Life has a way of getting busy.
Good intentions and all that.

I  have written many times about Walla Walla.
It's a magical place.
Safe, nurturing.
I never thought I'd leave.

People ask…

Being a Widow on Father's Day

This day never gets easier.

I scroll facebook and I see
that my children and I are not alone.
So many families missing dads on
Father's Day.

We are lucky.
Dave was here,
and fought to stay,
as long as he could.
He left a legacy that we will
always remember.
He was honest and kind and caring.
He was full of faith and joy and love.
His example leads us through every day
without him.
Missing him never goes away.

I want to give a "shout-out"
to all those moms who do double duty.
Who work hard to be the best mom that they can,
and try to fill the empty space left by a dad
who is no longer here.

For the last almost 11 years,
and often in the years before that
when Dave was so sick,
I tried to do what I could.
"There is no way to be a perfect mother,but a million ways to be a good one."
I worked two jobs.  Sometimes three.
A few times, even four.
To make sure my kids could stay in their childhood home,
to try to provide some safety, stability and security
in a wo…


I got a tattoo.  Christine actually wrote on my facebook post, "You??"
Yeah.  Me.

I've been thinking about it for six years.
I finally decided that if after six years, I still wanted it, maybe it was time.

The writing is Dave and Doug's.
Taken from notes they wrote me.
They always signed their notes the same way.

I thought I was doing it in memory of them.
To mark the way they are always on my heart.
To have a visible reminder.
A permanent keepsake,
always with me.

And while it is that.
It is also more.

I didn't realize it,
until afterwards.

It's a marker.
A closing of a chapter.
Closure, if you will.

I don't know how to explain it.
The minute it was finished,
I knew.
I knew something inside me was different.

and to a lesser extent,
have been part of my every thought
every day
for over 10 years.

Daryl saw the Dali Lama this summer.
One thing he learned:
Interrogate your truth.

I've been thinking about that a lot.

Interrogate implies a…