Pictures of Kacie taken
last month in TicTac
I bought the card in advance this year, with care: twenty-five minutes
the greeting card aisle, searching for just the perfect blend of
maternal sentiment and whimsy, as my husband waited patiently
in Frozen Foods.
It took time, but I found it.
I underlined the words that spoke true and deep, from my heart
to hers -- I love you,
and I dream
big dreams of deep and dazzling joy for you
-- and then I signed it with the usual x's and o's,
in handwriting that seems to resemble my mother's hand writing more
and more each year. I tucked a handful of photos into the
card, taken last month during my
visit to TicTac ... Kacie and her boyfriend smiling
at me from across a booth at Taco Time; the two of us together at the
family reunion at her grandmother's house; Kacie in strawberry-colored
pigtails at Black Angus, on the last day of my trip. (I
reached over and tugged at one of the pigtails, as we sat there waiting
for her to-go order. "These remind me of your kindergarten picture," I
said to her wistfully ... remembering a little girl
a blue flowered dress and Pippi
"Yeah, I'm getting
When the card was signed, I added the requisite cash
... not as much as in previous years, but
enough for a new pair of fluffy Happy Pants, hopefully, and maybe a
nice dinner out ... plus a sprinkle of that
annoying tinfoil confetti we all love so much.
And -- of course --
the traditional button,
dime and safety pin.
When I was growing up -- and then later, when Kacie
and her sister and brother were growing up under my lovingly demented
supervision -- the
birthday button/dime/safety pin were wrapped in miles of tin
foil and buried deep inside the bottom layer of a lumpy Duncan Hines.
These days, they're scotch-taped to the bottom of a Hallmark.
(That's OK. It's lots less messy that way.
It's certainly less potentially DEATH-INDUCING that way.)
According to family folklore, if you found the button in your
slice of cake, it meant you would grow up to be drop-dead
gorgeous. Finding the safety pin predicted a dozen future
children, all with his eyes and your smile. And the dime, of course,
signified vast limitless amounts of money and good fortune and ugly
But that was then.
Just as the method of delivery of the button/dime/safety pin *birthday
has changed, over the years, I'm thinking that maybe their significance
needs to evolve, as well. That's why this year the button
still signifies beauty ... but from now on we're
about achieving the inside kind of beauty, as well as the outside kind.
The safety pin is now about love and family,
wherever/whenever/with whomever you find them. And the dime?
Well, the dime doesn't go as far as it used to, obviously ...
but I think that from now it will be less a wish for material
wealth than for physical ease, emotional comfort and spiritual purpose.
Plus a new pair of nice
fuzzy Happy Pants, once in a while.
These are just some of the things that I wish for my daughter today, on
her twenty-sixth birthday.
I love you, Kacie, and I
big dreams of deep and dazzling joy for you.
As A Button
Was Twenty Years
Ago Today (Reprise)
I Told You?
to throw a rock?