A Life Well-Lived
Snuggled in my robe,
I kick back my glass of water,
and lean toward the window,
wondering what the day will bring.
The sun twinkles on the wet fence posts
and the grackles hastily pick at the seed.
What day is it?
That’s right…. May 3rd
What would have been your 84th birthday.
my sweet, sweet Mother.
I open the cabinet,
and see an open box of birthday candles.
Tips charred down a bit,
wax curling over;
evidence of songs sung and happier days.
I begin to think of all the candles you blew out in your lifetime.
and add them up.
Since the day you left,
The time with you has always felt too short.
But as I scroll down
this excel column,
it helps me see in a visual way,
How many years, 82 years really is.
I smile imagining you as
an infant “fresh from God”
as Gram used to say…
with 82 birthdays
and all the candles that lay ahead of you…
As a toddler with frosting smeared
on your smiley cheeks
around a table with your brothers serenading you,
as a freckled-face teenager falling in love
for the first time,
as a twenty-something
just home from modeling school,
as a young mother,
with five under nine-years-old,
The many years of waking up
on your birthday
in a new home,
wondering what the next year would bring,
and for so many adult years
celebrating the best we could,
on the phone from a distance,
as each of your five
gathered our families to sing to you.
How I wish I could pick up the phone this morning,
as I always did
And launch into a hearty “Happy Birthday” song
before you could even
get in another word.
I will stop,
Fingers resting on the keys,
By myself in this polka dot robe,
And sing to you.
Happy birthday, Mom.
I will think of you gathered
with your brother and parents,
Padre Pio, Jane Kendall, and God himself,
celebrating a life well-lived.
to be grateful for.