Tag Archives: yellow balloons

Happy Birthday Mom


No one loved to celebrate birthdays more than my mom so it is fitting that since today is her birthday, we all go out and celebrate in her honor! We will head to The Reservoir of course….it was her favorite restaurant.  Twenty of us getting together to celebrate her.

I had considered going to the cemetery to visit with her today. I am not a big fan of where she is buried. The cemetery itself is beautiful, but she is in a mausoleum and I don’t like the coldness of it. The artificial flowers and forced air don’t make me feel welcome and I don’t find myself going as often as I feel I should. Instead, yesterday, I went to her bench in the park. It is my peaceful spot to go when I am missing her or feeling sad. A bunny and a butterfly where right beside the bench when I arrived. More signs from mom? Maybe… Regardless, it made me feel like she knew I was there. I sat for a bit and wished her a happy day. It is the same place where we have released balloons for her birthday in the past.  I hope you have caught some of those yellow balloons and are celebrating up in heaven. We miss you!


Mom’s Things

meant to be

Today would have been a “big” birthday for my mom. She would have turned 70 years old today.  When I was a kid, I used to think 70 was so old but not so much anymore. Last night, we all went to my dad’s and ordered Chinese food (her favorite.) Today, we will release yellow balloons from her bench.

My dad has a hard time with change. He hasn’t let any of us move her things. This includes clothing from her closet and drawers. He is also a “saver” and all of our bedrooms are still filled with lots of “stuff.” Not just his stuff, all of our stuff.  My sister Kathi and I have the least there but both of us had a few things to get rid of. My brothers, although both live on their own, have their bedrooms almost exactly the way they were when they lived there.

My sister and her family have fallen on tough times financially and are going to be moving in with my dad for awhile, until they can get back on their feet.  This means, the five bedroom home – the very “filled” five bedroom home – needed to be cleared out immediately.

We finally convinced my dad to let us clear out my mom’s closet. Promising we would donate all of her clothing, shoes and bags and then, move all of her formal dresses that are in Kathi’s and my closet, (there are a lot them,) into the closet in the master  bedroom. The dresses were one thing he wasn’t ready to part with. Gowns from our weddings and special events they attended. We all understood and began purging.

My mom, who was a very simple woman, (she didn’t care about labels or names,) had SOOOOOO much in her closets, it filled two industrial sized blag trash bags and four boxes! That doesn’t even include all of the purses and bags, (Fendi, Gucci, Coach,) some of which I had never even seen since so many had never been used. Kathi and I each found a few that we kept for ourselves and we decided to try to sell the bags on a local swap page and the interest has been huge. I had no idea there was such demand for these “old, yet new” bags.

We gathered so many shoes and clothes, we needed to get them out of the house immediately because we couldn’t just leave those bags and boxes. We had divided them into bags with bag with “nearly new or brand new items” in some and one of “mom worn” items.  She was notorious for spilling on herself so those went into a different bag to drop off at a collection box.  There was so much collected, that DJ and I decided to take a ride and bring them, to the local church that was having a rummage sale and drop the other bag into the donation box.

When we got to the church, there was a sign on the doors saying, “No More Donations!” I didn’t want to put it all in a donation box because I have heard that a lot of that stuff just gets shredded rather than donated. I couldn’t imagine that! There were brand new clothes with tags on some of it! We decided to drive over to our own church where there are two collection boxes.

I let myself be naive enough to believe that the sign on saying it would go to Catholic Charities meant it just might be given to people rather than be shredded.  DJ and I unloaded the heavy boxes and bags and started to stuff them into the bins. The bins were so full, we couldn’t even get one bagful in. We tore open one of the bags and tried to put things in one piece at a time. We were only able to get one bag emptied and that was it. Not another stitch of clothing was getting in there.

DJ and I joked that mom was trying to send us a message; either she didn’t want us giving away her things, or she wanted us to “share the wealth,” so off we headed to another donation box in town. Problem was that box was gone. We kept driving and got to the donation box I had thought of first for the one bag of clothing in the worst condition.

As we started emptying the bags and boxes – which were too big to fit, once again, we had to take them apart to throw the clothing in one piece at a time. The handle of the donation bin kept jamming. Jamming up, jamming down….we couldn’t help but laugh. It took much longer than expected but we got it all in.

I kept apologizing to mom as I threw things into the bin. DJ kept asking why. He didn’t think she’d have minded and he is probably right.  She was probably laughing right along with us.

Mom’s Birthday

angelic coincidence

Today would have been my mom’s 69th birthday.  I always write about how I believe in signs and that no matter how silly they seem, I think they mean something.  I have always been that way and maybe it is just because I am looking for something to have meaning behind it.  Signs give me  comfort though, or at least stir up memories so whether it is a sign from above or something else, I like believing in them.

I am sure it is just because it is her birthday, but “the signs” began arriving last night.  I went outside my front door to wait for my dad who was dropping something off.  On my front sidewalk was a partially deflated balloon that said, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” on it.  I have no idea where it floated from and on any other day, I would have left it there to continue on its journey but instead, I scooped it up and brought it inside thinking it was a sign from mom telling me not to forget her birthday, (as if I ever would!)  I met up with Drew at his baseball game and when it was over, I told him about the balloon.  His eyes lit up and and he said that grandma must have sent it.  I have passed along my superstitions about signs to him…I think that’s a good thing 🙂

The second sign came at camp this morning. Our special needs camp runs along with another town camp and we try to integrate the camps as often as we can.  One of the little girls in the other camp who I didn’t know, came running up to me and asked me if I would hold on to her lanyard that she was creating so that she could play a different game. I told her of course, but asked her what her name was so that I was sure it got back to her.  She looked at me as if I should have known it and said, “Ellie.”  My mom’s name.  Coincidence, of course, but a sign nonetheless.

I picked up Drew from camp and brought that balloon that had floated to our front walk yesterday.  I asked Drew if he wanted to go to the cemetery for a few minutes and visit with grandma.  He did, so we made the quick drive over and brought in that balloon.  We left it there for her.  Drew also left her one of his little rubber ducks.  Then we headed home for him to get ready for his baseball game tonight.  He has the number 13 written on his arms hoping that it will bring him luck tonight.  13 was my mom’s lucky number.

Before heading to Drew’s game, we met at mom’s bench at the park. Dad brought along 13 yellow balloons.  Adding to the coincidences, dad told us all that when he got into the car to come here, Moon River was playing on the radio. It was their wedding song. Six ducks swam down the brook as we were sitting there. A butterfly flew past too.

We all sang happy birthday to her and let the balloons sail up into the sky and watch until we couldn’t see them any longer.