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.
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.