The month of April was one of the best ever. Charley decided that since it was my Birthday, I should have an entire Birthday Month. Now, I’m not big on cards and gifts and parties. I’m extremely pragmatic and he is well-aware of this. When he asked me to marry him, he wanted to buy me a diamond. I said, “No way!” But I did mention that if I had to live with him for the rest of my life, I needed graphite golf clubs (much lighter than the steel Nancy Lopez irons I had stored in the cellar.} He loves to golf and I knew we could spend more time together if I golfed, too.
You see, my favorite gift is Time. It is the present I most cherish. Time with people I cherish; people who want to be with me and who I love being with. I have grown-up nieces and a nephew who, throughout the years, have never bothered to call me on my birthday; who never seem to have time for me and whenever we’ve made plans, could be counted on to not show up or cancel at the last minute. Now, these are people I gave a lot of time and love to when they were growing up. I was always there for them. No matter how busy my life was, I was always there. But, for whatever reason, I was taken for granted.
I know there are those reading this who totally understand because they, too, have invested love and time into friends and family who haven’t felt the slightest need or even the inclination to return the love. And so, in my view, it’s best not to dwell on it and to move on.
Now, I mention this, not to whine or curry sympathy. I wear my Big Girl Pants every day and have always had my own philosophy. There are givers and takers in this world and the takers are inevitably attracted to the givers. Like metal shavings to a magnet. Simply put: There are screwers and screwees. If you don’t want to get screwed, then leave the room. Fill the void with the people who love being with you and move on. So, I share this experience and wisdom with you because I don’t want this to seem like a Happy Families post on Face Book. Believe me, no family is as happy as they’d want you to believe on Face Book. But, fortunately, I am surrounded by people who care about me and make me happy. I know this because they give me their time.
And so, I had luncheons and adventures with friends. My sister (whose birthday is the day after mine) and I shared our birthdays together, shopping and talking and laughing. Just the two of us. It’s our tradition.
But Charley decided that April was to be an entire Birthday Month. There were gifts of flowers and candy and books strewn in between Date Days and Date Nights. Even mundane tasks were turned into fun. We took my car to be serviced and while we waited, we went out to breakfast and then to a nearby vineyard for a winetasting and to stock up on vino.
We raked the leaves from the gardens in the sunshine of some glorious Spring days and watched the daffodils, tulips and hyacinths burst into bloom around us. Many of these are the bulbs we put into the ground ten years ago when Charley was diagnosed with cancer. To me, they symbolize the hope we held that he would be there each spring with me to see them come up. Every Autumn, for the past ten years, we’ve planted more bulbs and they put on quite a show for us this Spring.
We went to concerts and out to dinners and lots of mornings and nights we sat in the little library quietly reading and talking. We spent lots of hours just walking around holding hands. And, to Roxie’s dismay, we went on another trip up to the Berkshires – without her!
I’ve taken some time off from writing the ZuZu Series set up in the Berkshires to start an adult mystery series set in my home town of Kingston. The first book will be launched at the end of June and is in its last editing stages. I’ll be getting back to the children’s books soon and needed to take a trip up to the Berkshires. I’ve already taken the photos and written the Christmas story set in Stockbridge during Norman Rockwell weekend and would like to do another one set at the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield. Since the Village opens for the season in April with a celebration called Baby Animals, I knew I wanted to get up there for that. Who doesn’t love Baby Animals?! It was school vacation week and the place was chock full of little kids chasing tiny lambs and goats and chickens and ducks. Being part of that is a great gift for any occasion.