The Best Gifts and a Photo to Prove It

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

Birthdays come but once a year but if you do some finagling, you can make it last a little longer – a week or two at least. Maybe even a month. While you might not get those gifts stuck in amongst bright-colored tissue paper in gift bags or wrapped up with ribbons every day, you might get plenty of gifts if you look around for them. The sunshine. The birds. A good dog. A loving family. A letter in the mail from a friend. A Scripture verse to touch your heart. An e-mail from a reader. An encouraging comment. Good news about a book. A good read. To name only a few.

I got a gift today. My nearby grandkids came out with their parents to help me do some of that extra birthday celebrating. Then they even took a picture with me – all smiles – so I could count my gifts. While my granddaughter’s little dog escaped the camera in this picture, my dog, Oscar, stuck his head in there with us. Some of my very best gifts. The other grandkids don’t live close enough to come visiting very often, but it would have been fun to have had the whole crew around me under the apple tree. Enough for a baseball team.

When I think back on my birthdays, I don’t remember the presents. I remember the people who helped me celebrate. When I was a child, my aunt always brought me a birthday cake. She never married and she doted on us girls. She loved making our birthdays special, and my mother gave her that gift – allowing her to be the one to bake and decorate the cakes and sew us dresses for our birthdays. 

My aunt died the year I got married, and so birthdays changed. Now the family celebrated birthdays by getting together for dinner. Mom treated us by making our requested favorite dessert. As the years passed, the kids came along and I did my best to make their birthdays special so they’d have good memories of their birthdays the way I did. We did have one disastrous party where we invited 10 or 12 boys. And they all came!!  Quieter parties but just as much fun were when we invited their cousins over. We had candles and cakes that I decorated much the same as my aunt had decorated mine. Nothing fancy. Just shaky writing in pink or blue or yellow icing of “happy birthday” with whichever child’s name. Then the kids had so many birthdays that they grew up and got married and had kids of their own to have birthday parties. Now they get to make their children’s birthdays special and I go and enjoy. 

I enjoy my birthdays too. Everybody at church sang happy birthday to me this a.m. We have a tradition of giving money to the Children’s Homes on our birthday. Then we sing and pray blessings down on the birthday person. What more could anyone want for their birthday? Blessings and joy. And when I got back to the house here, a few hugs and smiles from the grandkids and a little slice of Key lime pie. 

What do you like best about your birthdays? And do you have one birthday you remember better than the others? 

Me, I remember turning 13. Not because of anything that happened or that I got as a gift. I just remember thinking that now I was a teenager. It seemed like a magical age that was going to change everything for me. And you know what? I guess it did. Now here I am all these years later but I still like celebrating birthdays. 

Remember that one way I’m celebrating is by giving away some books and things in my birthday giveaway. If you haven’t signed up for the drawing, you can do that by sending me a message from my website, www.annhgabhart.com or leaving a comment here (with contact info if I don’t have your e-mail already) before the end of the month. That’s when I’m picking the winners – four of them.

Thanks for reading. Tell us about a birthday you remember or a gift that was special for you. I enjoy hearing from you.