Saturday, December 24, 2011

Best Birthday Ever

When I was a little girl, I hated the fact that my birthday falls three days before Christmas. I never had a party; the grownups were too distracted setting up our Charlie Brown tree (then sweeping up the broken ornaments as it toppled over yet again). Very often, I'd get a combo gift (Merry/Happy) and few cards arrived in our house that weren't Yuletide greetings.

 As I grew older, I came to rather enjoy the placement of the day. The festive atmosphere, the carols, the cookies, all added to the fun of advancing to the next age. I loved getting little presents from the kids that had been purchased at the elementary school holiday gift shop: the "I love Mom" pen, guaranteed not to run out of ink for 15 minutes; the "Mom's the Best" dinner bell (useful for calling everyone in from the fields for chow); the "World's #1 Mom" coffee mug (not advised, I learned, for hot liquids).

 Then came the milestones (35! 40!) that I dreaded. Who, honestly, WANTS to turn 50? Maybe if we didn't mention it, I hoped, it wouldn't be true. I'd tell myself "It's only a number," in which case, I chose the number 21. Didn't work.

 Once my chickies started leaving the nest, I only wanted one thing for my birthday: everyone home together. Much easier wished for than done.

Gathering even a majority of Seyfried children in one spot requires ridiculous logistics. The last time all five were at home at the same time was Labor Day, 2009.  Since that happy afternoon, group visits of any sort have been like math problems: Sheridan + PJ + Julie-Rose-Evan; Rose+Evan-PJ-Julie-Sheridan; etc. There were always people missing from the equation. While seeing any combination was fabulous, of course, I still longed for the day we'd all be reunited.

 Evan's Navy schedule has always been the wild card. This year, he requested Christmas leave, and got it. Maybe, at long last, the full complement of Seyfrieds would celebrate together.

 As the December days went by, it was starting to look actually possible. They would all be in one place for my birthday, and Sheridan decided that a holiday Seyfried concert at church was in order.

Fast-forward to Thursday, "B'day Me!" (as my Dad used to write on the family calendar every year--now there was a man who loved his birthday).

At 4:30 PM, I got my birthday gift. Rosie walked in the door, and I had my five children, under one roof.

They put on a great concert that night, but it was hard for me to focus on the music. I was just busy delighting in the sight of the Seyfried family. Together at last.

We have no idea when our next reunion will be. Evan heads back to Pearl Harbor; the others will scatter to school and jobs and their busy lives. But if I live to be 100, I think Dec. 22, 2011 will still rank as The Best Birthday Ever.

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