The Birthday Box

The Birthday Box

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

 I love this photo that speaks the promise of a life of joy ahead.

I suspect the photographer was my dad Henry because he was our family historian. See how we are smiling so brightly? Henry captured a moment that forever portrays the love between my mom (Joyce) and me.

Tomorrow I will be 54 years old–a half century since this photo was taken on my 4th birthday. Pop had the foresight to label 1962 on the front of the photo (faint handwriting in his dear, scraggly script).

I study this photo just about every day because I keep it on my dressing table. Whose house was this? What was in the box? Who else was at the party? I scour the dusty print looking for more clues in my early life. Sometimes I look at Mom and am dazzled by her beauty. She was my early role model for sophistication and style. Other times I scrutinize my own image, and I confess, love my chubby cheeks, springy curls and dimpled fingers. Just today I discovered there is a little red star on the wall above the lamp. Never noticed it before, but stars are one my talismans…another gift! Above all else, I see the light in our eyes that beams the pure and shining love we shared.

Mom has been gone for 16 years (… Pop for 15.) So many things have happened of import in my life in these 16 years–and I cannot share them with the woman who was the center of my universe. Birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, job victories and losses. Stories published. Adored family members and  pets crossing the rainbow bridge. Boys hitting milestones that would surely elicit a hearty “Alllll Right!” And then the million everyday stories that make up a life.

As I ran today (6 miles for the first time–yeah me!) I pondered the birthday present in the box. Traveling  the dusty path I figured out that it was filled with gifts that Mom and Pop wished for me as my life unfolds.

 Love. Family. Happiness. Friends. Confidence. Fearlessness. Tenacity. Adventure. Health. A spiritual center. Security. Beauty. Peace. Fun. And most of all–JOY!

I’ve experienced these gifts more times than I can count. And though I cannot celebrate them in person with you beloved parents, I know you are there behind each one every moment!

Thanks for reading!


The joy is in the journey.


6 Responses »

  1. Vicky,

    Happy Birthday tomorrow. Your mother is beautiful, and you are (still) adorable! I love looking at old photographs, and seeing such wonderful frozen moments. Thank you for sharing!

  2. The promise you see in this photo has become the joy and inspiration you now bring to so many and especially to me. I’m so happy to be on the journey with you.

  3. Oh that scratchy man! A painter of witches and zombies and builder of holiday landscapes. His art was to build a set for the theater of joy and celebration. And his jewel of a wife. Strong and fierce, her sweetness could calm any storm. A true Matriarch, she gave her little hens the roaming room to explore themselves and create magic in their own ways, but made sure to snap the leash at first sight of entitlement. This wisdom trickled down in to grandchildren, and as we see their children. Her hands like spiders brought magic to form while sleeping children swam dreams in the mighty St. Lawrence. A soul nurtured by such a river was destined for great dazzling things.

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