Tag Archives: best friends

Remembering Birthdays and Anniversaries

This blog entry is inspired by my (dear) husband who forgot our 18th anniversary Monday. Our kids and I accurately predicted that this would happen. So, today’s blog is about remembering birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates and how you can help yourself!

Use a Calendaring Program – Using Outlook, iCal or something similar to track birthdays or anniversaries in your calendar is a great start to remembering those important dates. There used to be a plethora of websites to help you remember important dates, but I find that my address book and calendar work just fine together to show those dates. I like seeing those dates highlighted on my calendar  and automatically filled in from my address book. I love having them on Facebook. It makes it so easy to send that special person a message about their special day. It only takes a moment. If you are sending an actual card (or electronic one), you can set your alarms or alerts to remind you a week ahead of time to (get and) send a card.

I loved seeing my step-sister’s message to her mom and my dad on their actual  anniversary last week and I especially loved seeing the comments to her post. It was a sweet reminder that you never know what will work, and a not so subtle reminder that I forgot to send a card 😦 even though our family calendar has their picture squarely on their anniversary date of Feb 4th!

Start a Tradition – Traditions are important in helping you remember an event and plan for it – like giving everyone new PJs on Christmas eve, or serving breakfast in bed on your child’s birthday, or having your child (or spouse) wear a birthday crown all day on their birthday. I started a tradition for our anniversary of inviting close friends and those in our wedding party to dinner at our house on our anniversary (or the weekend before or after). This dinner tradition led to some pretty funny stories being repeated year after year – like my husband diving into the pool naked at one of his (supposedly) raucous parties before I met him. (We actually received a card with this picture on it one year for our anniversary, so I know he actually did that, but I’m still not sure about the veracity of the tales about the raucous parties.) One of my favorites was our 7th anniversary dinner where Greg’s best  friend and former roommate, Karl, gave us a meat cleaver with a message carved into it – G & S Happy 7th K & K and on the other side, “The Unknown Future.” The story behind that gift was that Greg and Karl had been roommates for a long time and that by our 7th anniversary, I was now the person who had lived with Greg the longest and the gift was Karl’s way of passing the torch (or meat cleaver in this case) to me. It was a funny reminder, and still is.

My friend Grace has a tradition of skiing on her (January) birthday. One year I played hooky at the last minute, left my house at 7 am, picked Grace up and made it to the slopes by 10 am. This year we had to postpone skiing on her actual birthday, but we did get to have lunch at a very cool place in Half Moon Bay and we will go skiing in a few weeks!

Be Vigilant –  It is important to not forget the little things that may have been started in jest or as a joke or just as a simple reminder of something fun or important. When my parents were married, I never, and I mean never, ever saw my dad give my mom a present. Paula, my dad’s wife (of 27 years now) doesn’t let him get away with that. He even sends me and my kids cards on Christmas and their Birthdays. I love that he does that! Now I just need to tell him that! In our household, my husband (usually) gets forsythia and tulips or freesias for me on our anniversary – these were some of the bulb flowers we had at our wedding. We also planted all of the flowers from our centerpieces at our wedding in our garden. When we moved, we dug up all of those bulbs and planted them at our new house (that was in 1994) and they bloom every year around our anniversary. On Sunday, during the Superbowl, mind you, my youngest child just went and picked them for me and put them in a vase – now that was sweet!

I’d love to hear what others do to remember birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates!

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BFF

What does being a friend mean to you? When I think about being friends with someone, I think of having fun and laughing, doing goofy things we might not do alone or on our own, and sharing and helping each other through things.

One of the things I ran across yesterday while cleaning (I know…, miracles can happen) was a laminated picture of Milagro, my BFF’s oldest daughter. On the back of the picture, Grace had written “you are an angel to me, my mommy and daddy. 2002.” I knew what this meant and what is was referring to. Grace had her first baby at only 26 weeks gestation and the baby weighed a mere 1 pound 2 ounces and Milagro fit into her father’s hand. My kids were all 10 pounds so Milagro’s tininess was unbelievable to me when I finally saw her in the NICU when she was only a few days old.

Grace and Genro had been at our house on Labor Day to check out our third baby boy, when she started leaking amniotic fluid and I was on standby to hear what the doctors had to say about it – “Don’t expect a live birth. Prepare yourselves.” How does one prepare for that? Grace refused – that weekend, she sat down, and kept still, (which WAS a miracle) and she drank as much water as she could hold to rehydrate her pregnant body. Despite all that effort, she ended up in the hospital on bed rest a few days later. Immediately, I went to check on her in the hospital and was surprised to see her doing crafty things, like crocheting. Now, I like knitting and love to share it with everyone, but I had not been expecting to see Grace taking up such a similar hobby, given that her hobbies were much larger endeavors, like building projects or flying military aircraft… or just about anything else other than sitting down and crafting something. But you do what you have to do when you are in self preservation mode (or rather preserve your unborn child’s life mode).

A few days later, Grace had an unplanned C-Section. Milagro was just not able to stay in that protective environment any longer. We found out later that Grace had many, many fibroid tumors and they had grown too big to be a conducive environment for pregnancy any longer. I made it up to the hospital to see Grace and Genro and their baby. I was not prepared for what I saw. Now, I had seen my own first born under the oxygen tent and gasping for air on day 2, but this was different. This scene was a different scale of alarm. I stood and held Grace while we cried together. Finally, after a long, long time of hugging and crying, I said something to her. Later, I got to see Genro hold the baby on his chest — skin to skin contact is good for the baby, you know. That wasn’t the standard operating procedure when I was born three months early and weighed a whopping 3 pounds 2 ounces. At the time I was born, my mom wasn’t allowed in the room with the incubators. Imagine not being able to touch your baby for a month. Thankfully Grace and Genro were in an amazing facility, with amazing medical care and personnel.  Many months later Grace and Genro were able to take their daughter home – more details of their story can be seen at Milagro’s website – and continue their miraculous journey.

Years later, Grace reminded me of what I said to her in the hospital that day – “We’ll get through this.” Simple, powerful, and reassuring. Yet, I had no recollection of saying those particular words; but, Grace remembered it; Those few words meant something to her. Then and now.

We’ve been through a lot together and apart, but at the end of the day it comes down to support and love and what you remember. That’s what being a friend means to me. Grace is pictured here receiving a Latina Style award for innovation this past year.

Happy Birthday Grace!

PS – For those wondering, Milagro does mean Miracle in Spanish.

PPS – One of the topics I want to highlight in my blog for 2011 is 30 extraordinary women doing ordinary things. Grace is my first blog entry for this topic – look for the other 29 throughout the year.