Some months ago my granddaughter and I were talking about a birthday cake she had made for her father. During the conversation I mentioned that I had only had two birthday cakes in my entire life. One when I was seven that my sister made and another when I turned 40, made by my husband.

The scarcity of birthday cakes in my life is caused by the nearness of my birthday to Christmas. Only one day separates the two events on the calendar. As a result my birthday and Christmas have always been a blended holiday: this gift is for Christmas and your birthday, people always said when I was a child.  Some still do it today. My children and grandchildren don’t. We have had many Christmases where gifts for my birthday were held back and after the Christmas gift opening was over, someone would announce that now was time for Mama to open her birthday gifts.

The children and grandchildren seldom come here for Christmas anymore. I live too far away from the rest of the family and they choose to gather more locally. Travel is difficult for us since my husband’s disability so we don’t make the trip down to where the yearly coming together takes place. These days we celebrate the holidays with each other, simply and quietly, just enjoying each other’s company.

My granddaughter has an excellent memory. She plotted and planned to make me a birthday cake and bring it on my birthday. Mother Nature stepped in with the Christmas snowstorm and nixed her plan. But today was a mild winter day for us and she arrived with her husband and children early this afternoon, birthday cake in hand.

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May the God’s bless her for not attempting to put the exact number of candles on this cake. If she had, we may have burned the house down before I could have blown them out.

My birthday story has to be revised now, for I have, in my entire life, had three birthday cakes. Each cake made by someone who loved me enough to make my birthday stand out as a special time. Each cake made by a person who will always have a special place in my heart, with or without a cake, for they love me for who and what I am.

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