For the past 20 years, July 14th meant only one thing in my family- my mother Betty’s Bastille Day birthday bash – a big family pool party at my house. Today she would have turned 95 and we would have likely have had a blast.
These were such joyous times to celebrate and bring my whole family together. Seeing my extended family floating in my pool with my dog Emerson and later on Stanley, swimming easily between the floats was sheer joy.
There was a lightness not seen at other family gatherings, the same relatives who had only months before sat at my Passover table now shed their winter woolen clothes and uncle’s generous bellies were bared and aunts splashed carefree in their Rose Marie suits and frozen Margaritas.
On her last birthday my mother was frailer and along with her birthday crown may have had an aide by her side, but she also came with the same beautiful smile, her face beaming with joy watching the fun in the pool even if she herself couldn’t join in. Her glowing face so full of love and life, basking in the beauty of her surroundings makes my heart sing even as I write this.
The parties continued even after she was gone as a remembrance and a reason for the family to get together. Now I no longer have my pool and my gardens and my mother is gone over a decade but the sweet memories remain and I am grateful for that time and place I had to honor and celebrate my mother.
As I do today.