Tag Archives: Happy Birthday

Tommy (April A~Z Challenge)


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I have five wonderful grandchildren. Tommy is one of them.

He’s not the only boy; I have four grandsons: Mikey, Brandon, Tommy and Patrick. His sister, Madeline, has the distinction of being my only granddaughter.

Tommy is not the oldest; that would be his big brother, Mikey.

Tommy is not the youngest; that’s his cousin, Patrick. He is the youngest in his immediate family, though.

He is also known for his kindness, generosity of spirit and exceptional sense of humor. When he was still a baby, his mother noted that Tommy was finding his place in her large family by being the most sweet-natured of all of them. He almost always has a welcoming smile on his face. When he visited me on Beaver Island two years ago, he made new friends every day. Being shy myself, I was continually impressed with his easy conversational abilities. He is a very special young man.

Still, he’s one of five. So, why is Tommy showing up on my blog today? Well, conveniently, his name begins with the letter T. More importantly, though, tomorrow is Tommy’s 16th birthday. That earns him a spot in my April A~Z challenge.

Happy Birthday, Tommy!


Artifacts to Memories: One Photograph



There’s a photo of my daughter, Jen, that hangs, right now, in my kitchen. Above it is the round kitchen clock, with its sweeping second hand to mark precise time. Below it is a wood-framed photo of my other daughter, Kate, in profile, that I took for a photography class. In other homes, at other times, Jen’s picture has been displayed in living room or bedroom, but it always has a place of distinction.

The photo was taken when Jen  was four years old. My husband’s uncle was visiting us in our townhouse apartment in Lapeer, Michigan. He had an impressive new camera, and fancied himself to be quite a capable photographer. He snapped the picture as Jen stood in front of the sliding glass doors, looking out onto our little patio. Later, he presented it to us, simply framed, as a Christmas gift. It was not my favorite.

Jen had beautiful big eyes and a bright smile. Her dark hair framed her little face perfectly, and her expressions were wonderful.  This picture, taken from the back, shows none of that. She was wearing hand-me-down, elastic-waist denim pants that had a black and brown snakeskin pattern. They were a little long, and bunched awkwardly around her ankles. Her turtleneck top looks rumpled, too. The light from the window emphasizes her uncombed hair. Lost in her own thoughts, the thumbs of both hands, double-jointed, are poking out in odd directions.

Because it was a thoughtful gift, I held onto it, though it wasn’t the best picture of my daughter. As the years went by, it gained nostalgic value.  Oddly, as Jen grew older, this image seemed to capture her true nature more than any other. By the time she was an adult, this photograph was a treasure!

Happy Birthday to Amy



I don’t often make note of birthdays for my brothers and sisters.

Brenda and I celebrate our birthdays together, in the summer when the sisters are here on vacation. The others receive a card from me most years, usually late. Once in a great while I happen to be where one of them are, on or around their birthday. When that happens, they get a gift.  I know when each of their birthdays are; when that day comes around on the calendar, I think, “Oh, I should have sent a card!” They are always very generous with gifts and cards and bottles of wine for my birthday celebration; I should try to do better for theirs. I could at the very least write about each of them on their birthday…but so far, no.

Except for Amy, whose birthday happens to fall in the middle of November, when I am writing every day. What else would I write about today, on my baby sister’s birthday?

Especially this year, when she’s celebrating one of those “milestone” birthdays. Or maybe not; she may be ignoring it.

My parents were good friends with Karl and Amy. The couple had met and married when Karl was stationed overseas. Amy was a beautiful blonde, of German descent; Dad loved to tease her about her broken English. Karl and Amy owned the Lake Nepessing Hotel, which was actually no longer a hotel, but a tavern. They lived in the rooms above the bar. Usually, they were busy running their business, but occasionally, they got away. Sometimes they ended up at our house, having cocktails and playing pinochle with Mom and Dad.

Once, after a few drinks, Amy started going on about all of the beautiful children in our house, mourning the fact that she had none. Mom, pregnant at the time, soothed her by telling her that if this baby were a girl, she would name it after her. Amy was flattered, and always paid special attention to our baby, Amy, sending gifts and stopping in for hugs. For Mom, who had eleven children and always struggled to come up with baby names, it was an easy gift.

Being the youngest in our family, Amy was adored by all of us. She responded by loving each of us wholeheartedly. Of all of us brothers and sisters, I continue to think of Amy as “the nicest one.” And, though she’s all grown up, with children and grandchildren of her own, I still think of her as “the baby.”

Happy Birthday, Amy!november2015 093












Happy Birthday to Tommy!



It seems I’m in my usual rush at “Tommy’s Birthday Time”. It seems that he – with his birthday in the Springtime – hears more excuses than good wishes from his Grandma Cindy!

This year is no exception.

I have a plane to catch at eleven AM today, to travel downstate for a funeral tomorrow and haven’t packed yet!

I have no time to relate a good story or tell what a wonderful (12 year old!) boy he is.

Time only, now, for a quick photo (that comes with its own sweet memory) and lots of love going his way (today and every day!).

Happy Birthday, Tommy!




When I was a child, an envelope would arrive a few days before my birthday, from my grandparents. It contained a birthday card, of course, but also a long, newsy letter, and usually a gift of money, to enable me to pick out my own present.

For most of my childhood my grandparents were in Chicago on my birthday, both working in the city. But sometimes they were on vacation at that time, here on Beaver Island or elsewhere.  Sometimes they were in good health, other times they had issues. Always, they were busy. My Grandmother had a large family in the city, of brothers and sisters and cousins and all of their children. My grandfather had six grown children scattered around Michigan (one in New Jersey!) and twenty five grandchildren.

Yet, never-failing, that card always arrived in time for my birthday.

My grandson, Tommy, turns eleven tomorrow.

I’ve been carrying his card around for a week.

One day, I had the card, but forgot the address. The next day I addressed the envelope but then left it sitting on the dining room table. Two days I missed the post office. Another two days I ran in for my mail before going to work, but forgot to bring the envelope in to post. Tomorrow I will mail Tommy’s birthday card, without any hope that it will reach him on time.

So, today I’ve been trying to call, so far without success.  To wish Tommy a very happy birthday. To tell him that I love him. And to explain that his card will be late.

This isn’t the first time.

Though I have only five grandchildren, and I know all of their birthdays by heart, I am often late getting cards and letters in the mail.

It has happened often enough that I know the response I’ll get.

First my daughter, Kate, will say, “No problem.” She’ll have some assurance that it will be here in time for the party, which is on the following weekend, or that he has so many cards and gifts to open, better that it come later when he can give it his full attention. She’s very good at it.

Then Tommy. He’ll be happy for the call, glad to talk to his Grandma Cindy, and will mimic his mother’s “No problem.”

He’s a good, kind boy!

He deserves a more thoughtful, punctual grandmother!

Unfortunately, he’s stuck with me.

Which is very fortunate for me; I’m lucky to have this sweet young man for a grandson!

Happy Birthday, Tommy!

Happy Birthday, Madeline!



My granddaughter, Madeline was born with a head of wild, dark hair, a beautiful rosy complexion…and a tooth!

A fully formed baby tooth, bright white, already perfectly visible!

When I first met Madeline she was just a couple weeks old. Her Mom drove me to visit my dentist in Okemos, Michigan. Madeline came, too. The dentist marveled at Madeline’s tiny tooth, and thought she was the perfect little newborn to come along on a dental appointment!

A few years later, Madeline had her own dentist. She had a tiny cavity on the top surface of one of her molars. It needed to be filled.

Madeline and her family lived in an urban area at that time, and Madeline had seen a lot of dental extravagances. She loved the look of braces, and the sparkle they added to a smile. She liked the diamonds and other jewels set into front teeth. At three or four years old, her idea was, the more dazzle, the better.

When she was told about the filling, she started her campaign. “I’m going to get the gold tooth,” she told her Mother and Father.

They tried to explain, but she was insistent.

“I’m going to get the gold tooth!”

Whenever the appointment was mentioned, the topic of the gold tooth came up.

“I’m getting the gold tooth!”

We were all worried that she was going to be terribly disappointed.

The idea of the sparkle, though, was keeping her from dreading the procedure.

In fact, she was extremely brave!

The dentist was good, patient and kind, and the filling went quickly.

We had just a bit of trepidation about the reveal.

It hadn’t occurred to any of us that gold and silver are both sparkly. A small girl might not know the difference. To the inexperienced, an amalgam filling could look like gold!

She walked out into the waiting room with her Mom.

She was beaming!

“I got it!”, she told us, “I got the gold tooth!”

She opened her mouth wide.

Her brother Brandon – in one of his best big brother moments – leaned in close to examine the filling and, with reverence in his voice, said, “That’s really AWESOME, Madeline!!”

And she knew that it was!

Today, my granddaughter Madeline turns thirteen years old.

Happy Birthday, Madeline!




So, what is this?

I, who barely post once a week most weeks, am putting up my third post in that many days.


Well, not so much, really.

Today is my daughter Katey’s birthday.

She always has caused me to reach beyond my limits.

There was a time when I thought I wanted four children. When I was still in high school, I clipped a photo of four little blondes in robin’s egg blue footed pajamas posing along a bannister. I stuck it in my journal and imagined that would be my house, my family, my bannister.

That was before I experienced pregnancy and childbirth.

Then I wound it down; one child was a nice little family.

Until I got pregnant again.

And realized that was just right.

I worried that I couldn’t possibly love a second child as much as I loved the first.

Until Kate was born.

Then I realized the capacity for loving grows with the number of beings to receive it.

I thought children would grow and develop personalities based solely on what they were exposed to.

Yet I’ve watched each of my daughters grow up with their own distinct personalities, separate from me, separate from their father, and different from each other.



Much Loved.

Happy Birthday, Katey!