‘Birthday are important when you’re home, but when you’re away they are even more important.’ This bit of wisdom was shared with me by a co-worker who didn’t know my birthday was coming up. As the conversation progressed I didn’t volunteer any information, figured I would keep it to myself. I hadn’t noticed anything being done for his (or anyone’s) birthday and I didn’t want to be the first to make a big deal about my birthday. The conversation moved on to a TV device called the Sling box, a nice little device your family connects to TV back home, then you can watch that TV from anywhere in the world. I told him, ‘I want one of those; it would make a nice birthday/mother’s day gift’. Whoops, and then it started….. ‘So when’s your birthday?’ ‘In a few weeks’; ‘really, what’s a few weeks’, ‘May’; ‘Really, when?’ ‘Oh, OK, it’s the 2nd’. In my heart I was hoping he would forget.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and it’s my birthday, and my day starts off great, I got a call from my youngest daughter, then a quick Skype conversation with my friend Karen. Then off to work with my secret, or I least I hoped it was still a secret.
First hurdle was the van pool, no one said anything, including the bearer of my secret (oh good, he forgot). All morning no Happy Birthday, I was feeling pretty safe. Lunch rolls around and nothing, now I’m feeling confident. 3:00 comes and I figure I’m home free. Around 3:30 one of the Engineers needed help with the Docbase (nothing unusual for this guy) and I’m the onsite help desk. I headed to his office, as we pass the kitchen he says something about his coffee mug and heads in, and yep, you guessed it, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Now I have a reputation, not one I meant to get, but it’s mine. Anything remotely related to anything back home and I tear up. So there I stand, feeling so humble that they are celebrating my birthday. And once again I heard, ‘Birthdays are important’. Yes, they are, and I’m grateful these men took the time to celebrate mine.
Today I got a call that I had mail in our pouch delivery. I walked over to get it and there were several cards from home, the first thing my co-worker asked was ‘are you going to cry again?’ I looked all indignant and said, ‘No…gees’.
I went back to my office and opened my first card; it was from girl friends back home. A few tears threaten, but I had control. Then I opened the envelope from Bethany and John, OK, so I not only teared up, but I needed a tissue. Both the kids made me a cards, Bethany’s has a HUGE flower and crystal bling on it, John’s has animals playing instruments with the word Rock Star across the front, I pinned both of them to my wall so the world can see the artist skills of my grandkids. As an added bonus John sent me his autograph on 3 sheets of paper. John is practicing because he’s going to be a ‘rock star’ someday. I taped John’s signature with the other ones he has sent, I figure one day when he’s famous I can say I have his first official autographs.
It’s tough being away from my family and friend, but I’m grateful beyond words that the people I care about take the time to send me little notes. It makes my time in Mountasia easier.