But this year, I've been feeling a bit down during my own birthday week. I miss my parents.
It's not so much the childhood parties I'm nostalgic for: it's the way they celebrated with me once I was an adult. They would always call me up on the phone, usually in the morning and sing to me, even in recent years when their health wasn't good. I'd look forward to that birthday call.
They gave wonderful "grown-up"gifts, too: plane tickets to come see "Marriage of Figaro" (the opera) in Cleveland with them, a sewing machine, and, for my 40th birthday, a collection of reference books for writers (American Heritage Dictionary, a good thesauraus, a book of quotes).
But that phone call was always the highlight. I loved getting the call and hearing them sing to me.
So you can see that tomorrow, the actual day, will be strange without their call to expect.
Maybe my guys (especially Bruce) thought I might be feeling odd at this birthday. Or maybe they just had a great birthday idea. Because at the end of this day, which I spent trying to keep busy so I wouldn't feel sad, they gave me a great birthday party.
We had supper at home, and then they brought out two presents. The first was a gift certificate to an art shop that does frames ("so you can frame your Black Belt certificate."). The second was . . . look!
They got me this beautiful ceremonial sword. It seems huge--but I guess it's regular size--and it has an engraving of a dragon on one side. It will be beautiful hanging on a wall. I understand Master Hughes had some part in the gift purchase!
I've never gotten a gift so unusual before! I love it!
I'm still going to miss that phone call from Mom and Dad tomorrow, but the sword will remind me of some new things in my life--of my family's pride in my TKD accomplishment, and of my own future in TKD.