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I’ve always believed that everyone should be celebrated enthusiastically on his or her birthday. Bring out the whoopies and balloons and raise a glass and light some candles and sing Happy Birthday vociferously.  My Dad would always sing his own words, mixing his strong faith with the sentiments of the day:

May the Dear Lord Bless You, May the Dear Lord Bless You. May the DearLord Bless Annie, May the Dear Lord Bless You.”

And blessed I always felt and sure wish he were around to still sing that to me but then he’d be 107 years old and, perhaps, have rusty vocal chords that wouldn’t get him through the song.

When anyone says to me that Birthdays and Christmas are for kids, my response has always been a hearty No Way. Bring on the Celebrations, please! My mother loved a good party right up to the time she died — particularly when it was thrown in her honour. And, none of this “Your presence is the present.” No way, in her thinking the more presents the better — especially if they had her name on it. On Christmas morning she’d always gather all of her presents around her and wait until everyone else had opened theirs and then she’d sit there, slowly, opening them one-by-one — stretching out the pleasure of the surprise as long as she could. She’s been my role model, my mentor, in how to celebrate any occasion whatsoever. “Make it special,” she believed, for the person or the day or the occasion that’s being celebrated.

She, absolutely, would disagree with anyone who declared that birthdays should not be celebrated by, shall we say, more senior members of our society. Hell no! Who’s earned the recognition of their years more than a senior?? Eh? When she turned 90 my siblings organized a bang up party in her honour with the church hall decorated in streamers and balloons and the Hokey Pokey playing on the sound system and a video running on loop of her life in pictures.

Yes, we should go on in our 70s and 80s and 90s celebrating us or maybe just getting to another birthday if nothing else. But, perhaps, we could agree that on our special day and during that particular celebration,  we don’t — as some of us did at a recent friend’s birthday celebration — spend time talking about recent deaths and funerals, upcoming medical tests and fears about them, the warning signs of dementia, Alzheimer’s or impending strokes and whether we have enough money saved to get to the end. All that needs to be talked about with friends — but not on your birthday. I don’t know for sure, but I bet my mother wouldn’t have wanted anyone discussing her ailments or demise during her birthday party. Maybe we should all follow her example and just enjoy the party and let the other stuff wait for another day. Eat, Drink and, definitely, Be Merry!

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