Today is her birthday. Tomorrow is mine. (Almost) Exactly three years apart. I still remember sitting at the kitchen table when she was about 7 and getting exasperated trying to explain to her why, even though her birthday was the day before mine, I was still older. That still makes me laugh.
My mom jokes about being in labor with Lora and begging the nurses to somehow "get her out" before the stroke of midnight. She couldn’t bear the thought of us not having our own birthdays. And growing up, she was always very careful to treat our birthdays separately. But, honestly, Lora and I loved it. And when I went to college and called her on December 12, we’d joke about talking again "tomorrow."
I still remember my first December 12 & 13 after she died. I couldn’t fathom having a birthday without first celebrating hers. And for the entire year I had trouble remembering I was 22; after all, she wasn’t 19. It was like the clock had stopped for me.
I never again woke up on my birthday with the same fervor and excitement. The only way I could describe it to friends who didn’t understand was that it was like trying to celebrate Christmas without Christmas Eve. It’s just not the way its done. It doesn’t help that with every year, I inch closer to "old" (when is a person "old," anyway?). Twenty-nine just seems so, so practically thirty.
Anyway, I know this is also a special day for Mom, who is no doubt thinking back with both sweet and bitter tears at the day the second of her two greatest gifts (if we do say so ourselves) was brought into this world. We all really miss her.