13 is a Lucky number for meon April 13th, 2012
Today is Friday April 13th. It has been a tough day for me, as Glen would have been 53 today. I have also reflected back over the birthdays we celebrated through the years and recalled many wonderful memories.
Thirty six years ago I decided the number 13 was going to become my lucky number. Glen and I had been dating for a couple of weeks and we were celebrating his 17th birthday. I got him a card and made him a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I was not sure what to give him, so I asked what he wanted. He thought and said “17 good long French kisses”, so that is what he got (and I did too).
His 21st birthday was the first one we celebrated as a married couple. I cooked him a special dinner and made him a chocolate cake. He got a coupon book for that birthday, because with both of us in college there was not money for a present. But hey, we enjoyed that birthday.
His 24th birthday was a little stressful. He was a senior in college, looking for a job, had just had a wreck while going for a job interview, I was dealing with a very stressful college class load, and I had missed my last period. I was on birth control pills and had not missed any pills or been on any medication. We were scared to death, because he did not have a job and I still had a year of college left. However, we were also excited because we both wanted kids. Turned out to be a false alarm – doctor said it was probably stress.
Fast forward a few years to his 29th birthday. We had gotten together with a friend for lunch to celebrate his birthday. The restaurant seated us next to a large window. We were chatting and our friend was in the middle of telling us something. At this time, Glen heard a loud noise outside the window and turned to see what it was. Our friend stopped mid-sentence and said “Gee you sure are getting gray.” We all broke out laughing and to this day, have not let her live that statement down. Glen told her she could have at least waited until he was turning 30 to tell him that!
Some years brought big birthday parties – 30, 40, 50. Every year had a chocolate cake (or two or three). I would always make a cake and take it to him at work on the morning of his birthday. (Was a little hard to pull off being late to work the years I worked in a CPA firm – but I did it.) We always had a couple of big family birthday parties some time during April. Glen, his older brother, father, and brother in law all have April birthdays and our son, Richard joined that group. In my family, it is my dad, niece, and brother – along with my two special guys.
A very special birthday for Glen was his 33rd. Five days before his birthday, our son Richard was born. We were so excited to finally have a child (our first child was stillborn the prior year). Glen had taken off work and was staying home with Richard and I. That morning one of his coworkers called and said he better be coming in to the office because she had a cake for him AND she wanted to see the baby. So, all three of us got ready and headed out on our first outing as a family. He was every bit the proud Dad showing off his son.
As the children grew, we would always make a big deal out of dinner for Dad’s birthday and they helped make the cake. When they were small, they loved helping him blow out the candles. On his 50th birthday, our son gave him a fire extinguisher to use on the candles! His birthday presents that year was backpacking gear. He and our son were going to hike Philmont Scout Ranch that summer with the Boy Scouts. He joked about being in good shape for his 50th birthday, due to the strenuous requirements of the trip.
His 51st and last birthday was one of sadness and hopeful anticipation. By this time, we knew the lung cancer was stage IV and the odds were not good for him. However, we were leaving the morning of his birthday going to MD Anderson for evaluation. We were hopeful that they would be able to treat him and give us a few more years. We had his birthday dinner the night before, since we had to leave early the next morning. That was the last birthday we got to celebrate together.
However, today I have felt his presence. I have heard special songs on the radio – ones that they do not normally play. I ran into one of his former employers, in a store that I rarely ever go in. This employer was his favorite job from his entire career and we had not seen any of them since they sold the business 7 years ago. She updated me on others and I know Glen was cheering as he heard some of the news. So, even though he is not here – I still say 13 is a lucky number for me.