It was my birthday on Tuesday. An unlikely alliance of snow on in the US, in the UK and in mainland Europe meant that I was at home on my birthday rather than away. I spent Tuesday with my wife – both our children are working or at college (or both). It was bitterly cold. Beautifully sunny at times. But pleasantly warm inside.
I worked during the day – and during the evening. We had a global call at 8:00p which I connected into and presented at. Good news though that I had time for a long, cold walk with my wife over lunch and a meal together in the early evening before I had to work. We even toasted my birthday with a special glass of wine later in the evening (and yes I promise it was after my call…).
My gifts were wonderful. As is often the case (yes I am that predictable) there was an emphasis on coffee. Place mates, mugs, t-shirts…and coffee. And a new toy…a new gadget. One of those desktop ‘smart speakers’ that plays music and tells jokes when you talk to it. And as ever I had as much fun setting it up as I did using it. Although I am still laughing at the joke of the day!
I received very nice birthday cards in the mail as well as many messages via social media, email and text. They were all so nice. All made me smile, or laugh even. Friends, colleagues, family.
I looked at myself in the mirror in the morning. How had I changed? Did I look any older? I saw my dad looking back at me. It was the strangest moment. One of those moments. It wasn’t my dad of course. And neither was it any sort of spiritual apparition. I just look like my father. Or more accurately I just look enough like my memory of my father.
That and of course I miss my dad. I miss him whenever I think about him. I smile as well when I think of him and my mum. I feel love and loved when I think of them. But I miss them. I don’t see my mum when I look in the mirror. Many birthdays have passed since anyone told me I look like my mother. I see my mum when I look at either of my sisters though. Or listen to them. They just look like my memory of my mum. That and of course I miss my mum.
I miss my mum and my dad when I think of them. I smile and feel love when I think of them. I missed them on my birthday.
Many years have passed since I saw my parents on my birthday. Work, family, distance, commitments. All good reasons of course. At the time. At that time. At this time? I am not so sure.
I stopped looking in the mirror on Tuesday…out of sight and out of mind? Not so much really. I missed them when they didn’t send me a card. I missed them when they didn’t call me to talk. I even missed them when my wife sang me happy birthday and I cut my cake.
Missing them is hard to describe. Someone said it’s like losing an arm or a leg, it’s hard to breathe, part of me is no longer there. Loving them is easier to describe – parents are one of the most precious relationships in life. Tuesday…my birthday…just brought those feelings forward.
I know my parents are special. I know I am so lucky.
I miss my dad and my mum…