Happy birthday, Lucy!

Lucy would have been 55 years old today. I realize that people consider blabbing a woman’s age uncouth, but Lucy always joked about being eager to turn 55 and take advantage of some senior’s discounts. She loved a bargain and she hardly aged until starting chemotherapy.

Groundhog’s Day was three days ago. In the Northern Hemisphere, Groundhog’s Day is the mid-point of winter and the mid-point of any season can have unpredictable weather. One year we went to Twins Fest for her birthday and we had a flat tire on the way home. It was about -25°F with a wind chill close to -40°F. A few years ago, it was close to 50°F with a light rain in the morning and a sunny afternoon. Lucy’s birthday usually was cold but rarely stormy.

This year started out overcast and blustery with about an inch of new snow on the ground. As today progressed, the wind died down, the sun came out and the temperature is valiantly trying, albeit failing, to reach 30°F. She would have enjoyed the cardinals serenading the surrounding area today. It is surprising at how loudly they can sing for their size and how far the song can carry. The robins that overwintered are out and about as are the goldfinches and black-capped chickadees. Goldfinches molt to a dull tan plumage in late fall but their song and flight pattern doesn’t change.

Birthdays were special to Lucy. She made it a point to acknowledge birthdays of family and friends. She spoiled me through the years (and I spoiled her in return), but my birthday was a Very Big Deal to her. She would go to Dairy Queen or Culver’s and pick up an ice cream cake for me. Believe it or not, we could get one of those to last a week. She knew what Buy One Get One Free offers I had for my birthday, so she would figure out how to optimize them to the fullest. That was a nice win-win: she could spoil me and she didn’t have to cook for about two weeks. The best part of the day was when we were waking up and she would have a huge smile on her face and wish me a happy birthday. I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present, and I treated her the same way on her birthday.

I think the reason birthdays were so special to her was because we shared holidays with our families but our birthdays were for us to celebrate. When she celebrated a birthday with her siblings, I usually was not along. It was her time to celebrate with her family. Perhaps that’s why getting older never bothered me; it meant I would get another birthday celebration with Lucy.

This year was very different. She wasn’t with me for her birthday or for Valentine’s Day. Qdoba Mexican Grill has an offer every year on Valentine’s Day for a buy one get one free burrito. The catch is you have to kiss someone to get the offer. Last year we spent most of the Valentine’s Day at Suburban Imaging waiting on her CT/PET scan. From previous scans, we discovered that Lucy would have mild nausea from drinking the imaging solution and from nerves, so having a burrito afterwards was out of the question. This year is unlikely because (a) it requires having someone to kiss and (b) I don’t want to use a straw to eat a burrito after irritating someone too much.

Please keep Lucy in your thoughts today and help make her day special. Remember the love and joy she brought into your lives. Spread that love and joy to your “someone special” and maybe spoil that person a little today.

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