July was always a special month in our family because Mom and I both have birthdays.
Mom passed away in 2010 and today, 1 July, she would have been 90. My birthday is rolling along in a couple of weeks.
The seventh month of the year was always eagerly anticipated by Mom and I because it gave us the opportunity to have a double hoolie, a good old knees-up that only the celebration of two fabulous birthdays at once could bring. Mom would say, 'Let's get the girls over' and that meant gathering our friends for an evening of frivolity.
For her 80th she wanted all of my closest friends to come to the house and have pizza and champagne. The women who came had, in our youthful days, spent many weekends at our house, always welcome, sleeping over, as close as family. Mom had fed them, patched up scraped knees, played games with us, and seen all of us grow from gangly kids to moody adolescents, into young women and beyond. It gave her enormous pleasure to see these women who had become successful in their chosen fields and their lives, to share stories and adventures, and to clink champagne glasses with them, many times over.
On her 80th she prepared ahead of time and had little treasures to give to each. My oldest friend whom I'd known since we were 9 years old, received a special quilt Mom had made, completely stitched by hand. Others were given small trinkets or little antique pieces that had meaning for them, and for Mom. Everyone went away that night with a small memento and many warm memories of the years we had all been together.
Mom went into full time care three years later but she still loved parties. Even though she was in a private hospital, she made it quite clear what she wanted for her 83rd birthday celebration.
'Chocolate cake, champagne, and a belly dancer.'
Fortunately we could provide all three. The cake was easy, the champagne traveled well in its frosty ice bucket, and the belly dancer was yet another dear friend who brought her belly dancing outfit and music, got changed in Mom's en suite, and gave the performance of her life to Mom and several other residents and staff who heard the clamour of jingly bells and music and came to see what the heck was going on.
What a party.