Many years ago, as a young pre-teen, my friends and I used to giggle inside of a tight-knit circle as we calculated—based on our birthdays—when each of us was conceived.
"Valentines Day baby, Valentines Day baby," we would squeal in delight and curiosity at one born in November. (After all, we likely didn't know how exactly a baby came to be.)
"Ooooh, New Years Eve, Oh la la," one would say to the other.
I sat here today at my desk quietly, half doing tasks, half eying the calendar, but mostly thinking that this year, for the first time since my own birth, you won't be here to celebrate your day. And as I scatter to plan for your daughter's (my mother's) birthday which falls tomorrow, just two days before yours, I couldn't help but strategize ways to keep her mind off of the fact that now hers is the only December birthday. Your mother, my great grandmother Honey, came first on the 19th, then you on the 17th and then my mother on the 15th. How amazing that three generations were born within 5 days of one another, only separated by the 20-year age differences between you. The closeness always felt special to me. I could easily group the three of you together: conceived in March, early springtime babies, all spring showers and lilacs, and roses. How fitting for the three of you, I thought, always with a song underfoot, a twinkle in your eyes, a little bit of something special on a tough day. Three peas in a pod, you grew from the same seed, the same attitude, hope, love (and poor planning).
My mother remains. Solitary, she is the lone December birth. I'm not surprised she's boarding a plane on the day that separates her day and yours to flee this coast, to hide out beneath the warm California sunlight for a few days, wearing a new face, an old dress and, undoubtedly, one of your scarves.
So, I guess I'm just here to say I'm missing you, and thinking of you on this windy December day. And I'll sing a little Happy Birthday tune every day this week to fill in the spaces and the new-found emptiness in this silly old month.
Happy Birthday, my sweet Grace.