It's the 7th of January, 2014. Last time we celebrated together, it was 2001. Kind of crazy, huh? We had organised a surprise party for you, and I guess we all knew it would be your last. You never had big birthday parties as a kid --you always told me how your brother and sister both had birthdays in December, and then there was Christmas, and then New Years, and by the time your birthday came no one really had the energy to do anything, so it was called "eid el tlet baraneet" (the 3-hats party) because the only people there was you and your siblings.
I didn't always have presents for you; mostly drawings or cards or something I made myself. But I always had letters. And I figure I can still do that, write to you on your birthday.
You would've been 59 today. You never wanted us to know that, your real age, and for as long as I can remember you always turned 33 and that's how you'll always remain in my world. You would've been the proud mother of a 20-year-old son who is off to college in Montreal, studying environmental science and in love with sports and nature, just like you. I can imagine you two would have had a hell of a time exploring mountains and discussing global warming. You would've been the proud mother of a 24-year old daughter who is a graphic designer, just like you were, and who could've taught you how to do it all on photoshop (no, they don't use pencils and papers to draw logos anymore...).
I close my eyes, and I imagine I would have taken you out to lunch today, just like I did 13 years ago; and we would have talked about my plans, my wanting to move, the book I'm writing and why I keep getting my heart broken and you would've probably had some tough love in there for me to snap me back into place. Of course, I would've probably spent the entire time talking about me, because that's what kids do, right? Just like I'm doing now. It's your birthday, and all I can do is talk to you about myself.
I will take a moment and say something about you though. I found it in the letter I wrote you that last birthday you were still around. I wrote: "The only thing I can give you today that matters are my words. You will always be my mother. The years go by, things happen that we don't expect, and all the tears we cry wont change anything. So let's look at the world positively, isn't that what you always say?"
It is what you always said. Even sick, even dying; and I will never forget that.
Happy birthday mom, wherever you are now.