Birthday Art

I started the tradition – a challenge really – to create a painting for each of my family members’ birthdays. The challenge continues, as the birthdays keep coming.

What to paint for my daughter-in-law, who has already claimed many of my art pieces? I wanted something personal and meaningful, so I decided to tackle an image from her wedding celebration.

For my son-in-law, who is house proud, I decided the best gift I could give him is a painting of their home (featured).

Next up, our soon to be three-year-old. I’m thinking of maybe a series of paintings of her favourite toys? Any other ideas? Has to be pink, because, quote: “Pink is my life.”

A Week of Celebrations

other birthday girlThe celebrations started last Sunday – dinner at a Greek restaurant with the family.  It was a double celebration, Sloane having turned six just days before.

Then we headed North to a friend’s cottage and had a meal rich with the summer’s harvest: corn on the cob, potatoes cooked with garlic on the barbecue, and orange glazed salmon.

Seems, we celebrate with food.  The next day, we drove into one of the larger towns and had Mexican – one of my favourites.


ladies seadoOn the actual day of my birthday, I woke up deciding that I would ride the jet ski – a risk I had been avoiding, as driving has not been something I can do since the onset of ME.  Even the motorized scooter we purchased proved to be too much for me, but I decided I’d strap on a life jacket and do a quick tour.  Something to mark my 60th.

“Was it fun?” my friend asked me after.

“Not really,” I responded honestly; “I was too tense.”

But I did it!

You couldn’t have done it a year ago! my daughter-in-law messaged after I posted the event to a group chat.

She’s right.  There is progress to celebrate.

I napped after the excitement and then we drove into a different town, and had dinner overlooking the water.  Just as we sat down, a cormorant dove down and came back up with a large fish in his mouth.

“Good luck,” I thought.

A heron flew by and settled into the brush nearby, and three otters popped their heads above water long enough to give us a show.  Of course, I didn’t bring my camera.

heron in nestOn the way home, we picked up the eldest granddaughter for a few nights stay.  Together we went exploring – she with my iPhone for a camera, and I with my Sony.  We found fish swimming in the nearby pond, a waterfall, and a heron hunting at the water’s edge.  While she tried to creep closer, I noticed a beaver making its way to her side of the pond.  A large splash sent her running back to me, eyes wide with surprise. The heron, too, had disappeared, but as we turned to go, flew back overhead, landing on a nearby tree and then taking to flight again.

“Look Grandma!  There is still a bird in the tree.  It must be a baby.”

The young heron squawked, and Finley mimicked it, keeping up quite the repartee.

We had stories to tell upon our return.

sunburst lilyThe week ended up with another celebration of birthdays, this time for our youngest daughter.  We hosted a barbecue, and then everyone went fishing.  No fish were caught, but the stories more than made up for it.

Sometimes we celebrate because the occasion calls for it, and sometimes we celebrate because life just gives us so much to be excited about.  This week it has been a bit of both.

Thank you to Olga at Stuff and What If… and Sgoeil for their contributions this week.

See you tomorrow for a new challenge.


July Blues

Summer bursts with activities and plans, and I am already wondering at the folly of trying to move in the midst of it all.  I put out a group text yesterday to solicit help from our kids, and the response was as expected:

We are away that weekend.
Can we help with the pre-move prep?
Sorry, Mom.

Our youngest son has offered to dedicate a day to help with his truck, which will be great; and the others have said they could help of an evening, but we are moving outside of town, so that doesn’t make much sense.  We’ll hire help.

The other event happening this month is my 60th birthday.  I haven’t really wanted to say it aloud, or make a fuss.  It’s just another day.

“It’s an important birthday,” my husband chastises me.  “I am disappointed you haven’t heard from the kids.”

I am not.  Birthdays in July are always hit and miss.  Kids go to camp; families go on vacation.   For years, my family went away the week of my birthday.

“No worries.  I am getting a new house for my birthday! What more could I need?”

Truth is, July has always been a difficult time for me in terms of depression.   It is not   a conscious thing, but nevertheless it has taken up residence in my psyche.  It hit two days ago.  As usual, it catches me off guard.

“Where did this come from?” I wondered as the heaviness descended.  Even this morning, I felt an urge just to remain prone on my bed, lacking incentive to budge.

It wasn’t until I saw the prompts for the day that I realized the source of this discontentment:  birthday month.

It is not aging that sets me off:  in fact, sixty has a freeing ring about it.  It is a history
of disappointments and letdowns, dating back to family of origin.  I have tried to lessen the pain over the years with therapy, and yet, it lingers: a dappled bruise on my soul.  Maybe some things never heal.

“Send the kids a message that we will host a birthday celebration here,” Ric suggests.

I do.  One family is just getting back from vacation then, another out of town.  So far, one daughter can come.

“Let’s just go away,” I suggest.

And then, sometime later, another text…outside of the group chat.

“We’ve been trying to put something together Mom, as a bit of a surprise, but your messages are messing things up.”

A warmth rushes through me and I smile.  This is not the family of my childhood; these are my kids, and they care.

I had momentarily forgotten.

(Today’s prompts are as follows:  Fandango, lessen; Ragtag Community, dappled; Daily addictions, resident.  Thanks for dropping by.)