Feel the beat, and love, from the tambourine
So my birthday was this past weekend. Actually, my birthday and Mother’s Day were all rolled into one day on Sunday.
“That’s kind of a rip off,” suggested a friend on Facebook. I guess her theory was instead of getting spoiled on two separate occasions, it was all going to be packaged in one day.
Although where cake was concerned it was probably just as well. It was my husband’s birthday two days before mine so I had bought him a cake. And then he bought me a cake, although it was a two-for-one-deal that read Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day.
Seriously, though. We were now up to two cakes. Did we really need three?
Plus we went to my parents’ house for supper on Sunday and there was cake there too.
I turned 49 this past Sunday. Next year I hit the big 50. A couple of days before my birthday my niece Courtney asked how old I was turning on my birthday. She followed that up by asking how old you have to be to be an elder.
As we all laughed, my son Justin said, “Doesn’t an elder mean someone who is wise?”
It does, we agreed, but we were all pretty sure in this case Courtney was referring to it as being someone who was old.
No offence, she told me. None taken, I said.
And so I marked two occasions on Sunday, although at this stage in my life birthdays and Mother’s Day aren’t about the gifts. (Well, not completely, LOL). Rather, I find now I’m measuring my life in moments.
For instance, the day before Mother’s Day a special event took place at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax. The family of Baby Millie – the adorable little heart warrior we have written about – was holding a celebration of her life following her death on May 2.
I made the trek to the city because I wanted to be there to show my support to the family and my love for Millie.
My soon-to-be 16-year-old son Justin offered to come with me. He had never met Millie or her family but he knew how important being there was to me. (He doesn’t know this, but that was the best birthday and Mother’s Day gift he could have given me. The gift of compassion.)
We did some shopping in the morning and then headed over to the park. It was a beautiful event. Lots of families. Lots of dogs (Millie loved dogs). Lots of songs. Her parents Caroline and Derek read storybooks that they used to read to Millie. Others shared stories. We all blew bubbles at the end because Millie was so bubbly. And then everyone sang You Are My Sunshine together.
Millie’s mom had wanted this to be a large family picnictype gathering – something Millie would have loved – and she had also asked people to bring musical instruments with them. I had brought a tambourine, in keeping with my ABBA/ Mamma Mia theme and because I knew Millie was a dancing queen.
As we all sang You Are My Sunshine, I pulled the tambourine out of my bag and started playing it. And then Justin pulled out a toy drum we had brought and he started playing that. And then a woman glanced over her shoulder and saw us playing our instruments and she pulled out some maracas and started shaking them.
I caught Caroline’s glance and saw her smile. I was happy that during this time of sadness, I was able to give her something to smile about.
Finding a tambourine hadn’t been easy. I had been to four stores with no luck. I had texted some friends with no luck. Finally my sister was able to track one down for me from a neighbour. I can’t explain why, but it was really important to me that I bring one to Millie’s celebration of life.
As we were getting ready to leave I said goodbye to Millie’s mom, who said she was so happy that I had played the tambourine.
I can tell you this – no gift I received for my birthday or Mother’s Day the next day was as meaningful as that moment.