Webster's 21st Century Dictionary defines the word anniversary as: "same day of the year as that on which something occurred." Well, something happens every day, so I guess that might be a fancier, or perhaps less personal, way to say a day that is celebrated each year for a special reason.
We tend to celebrate a variety of anniversaries in many ways, whether it is to recognize a landmark wedding or birth year, the purchase of a first house, a graduation -- the reasons are endless and usually quite personal. For me, most anniversaries evoke memories of moments that are firmly stored in my mind.
"WE WILL HAVE THESE MOMENTS TO REMEMBER...."
The 26th anniversary of my mother's passing is nearing, or, as my uncle, her kid brother unnecessarily reminded me at the time, "I guess you'll never forget your 60th birthday." Of course I will never forget, but my mom left me with enough joyful moments to remember, and I can turn to them any time I want.
"THE SUMMER TURNS TO WINTER AND THE PRESENT DISAPPEARS, THE LAUGHTER WE WERE GLAD TO SHARE WILL ECHO THROUGH THE YEARS...."
Mom and I shared some very special moments together, some poignant, some silly, but all quite memorable. As I was returning from Buehler's recently I was reminded of one of her visits here when she and I made a trip to the store.
We were only there to pick up a few quick items, but as we were getting ready to check out, we realized a batch of fresh, still warm Italian bread, was being set out on the shelf. The aroma immediately beckoned both of us. We picked up a bag, checked out, and headed for home. However, the bread, which Mom was holding, did not survive the trip.
It was peeking out of the top of the paper bag, inviting her to break off two bite-sized chunks, one for me and one for her. Like potato chips or peanuts, one was definitely not enough. By the time we got home, a major portion of that bread was gone, but that delightful escapade that left us giggling like a couple of school girls, is permanently etched in my memory.
Then there was the time she was determined to prove that the newly-introduced aerosol cans of whipped cream only worked if the nozzle was pointed down, towards whatever food we were going to crown with the creamy topping from this then-newfangled pressurized container. Of course, you can guess what happened; she boldly raised the can to an upright position, firmly pressed the nozzle, and sprayed whipped cream all over the wall, my dad, and me. Truly, it was hilarious!
Perhaps one of the things Mom and I shared more than anything else was our love of ice cream, a delicious treat we enjoyed almost daily. Mom was the Ice Cream Queen, and I was her Ice Cream Princess. When she passed away, I thought I might elevate myself to the royal throne of ice cream eaters, but it was impossible to do so. No matter how much I continue to enjoy, she will always hold the title.
I discovered it was the last thing she ate on that fateful day, surely a bittersweet realization, but, as sad as it was, I tried to console myself knowing she left while enjoying her favorite dessert. Who says you can't take it with you?
One of the nicest things about those moments, those memories, is that they remain a permanent part of me, and the best ones always surface to the top just when I need them the most: walks every Saturday morning to the library beginning when I was very young; playing gin rummy on rainy days; listening to the wonderful music of the Big Band Era; always welcoming my friends with special treats.... thanks, Mom, for everything.
"WHEN OTHER NIGHTS AND OTHER DAYS, MAY FIND US GONE OUR SEPARATE WAYS...."
Mom used to joke that my birthday was also her "birth" day because that was the day she brought me into the world. In a strange, and yes, difficult but somewhat endearing way, it seemed somehow providential that it was also the same day for us to go our separate ways. Happy "our special" anniversary, MOM!
"....WE WILL HAVE THESE MOMENTS TO REMEMBER."