The August calendar page at my house is dotted with birthdays.
It seems lots of my friends were born in August and my youngest daughter and my oldest granddaughter were also born in that month.
The August birthdays serve as a great excuse to throw a party, not that I really need an excuse, but if I did, putting the word ‘birthday’ before ‘party’ seems to make sense.
However, this year, my daughter who has reached a particular pinnacle birthday was adamant she did not want a party, birthday or otherwise.
“No party, mom,” she begged, immediately squishing all my thoughts about balloons and banners and people yelling ‘surprise’ down into the ‘bad idea’ category of my brain.
“Of course not,” I quipped. “I know how you feel about surprise parties and I sure won’t be doing one of those.”
She decided we should, instead, book ourselves into one of those fancy, upscale spas for a pedicure.
The spa wasn’t really my choice.
I mean it wasn’t even my birthday, for goodness sake.
And, anyway, I was very busy being busy.
But, in my heart of hearts, I knew, without a doubt, that one-on-one time with any one of my adult children is a rare and precious thing, not to be taken lightly.
“I’m in,” I said, resolutely.
I have to say the spa experience was a great present for the birthday child and also for the woman who gave birth to her, namely me.
From the moment the spa door slammed shut behind us, effectively shutting out the busy, hurry up world as we knew it, things just got better.
First of all, two of these sweet young girls got us all settled into these comfy chairs that have hidden magic massage fingers. And if sitting in these delightful chairs wasn’t enough, someone else popped by offering us strawberries and chocolate.
“What was it you had to do this afternoon, mom?” my daughter asked me as she licked the last of the chocolate off her fingers.
“Mmmm, I forget,” I murmured, settling more deeply into the black magic chair and pushing buttons at random.
My daughter suggested she should pick my nail polish colour and I should pick hers.
“That’s what my mom and I did,” one of the girls who was doing our pedicures told us. “Only we did it with our tattoos.”
“Your mom has a tattoo?” I questioned weakly.
“Oh yes, she has four tattoos, actually.”
My daughter and I, neither of whom have tattoos of any size, shape or form, pondered this.
“Nice,” my daughter finally said. I said nothing.
We stretched out every minute of our pampering to the limit, totally indulging our senses in the luxurious experience.
When we finally emerged, blinking in the harsh sunlight, our freshly painted toes were sparkling and our summer roughened heels had been buffed and repaired to baby skin softness.
And later, as we enjoyed a quiet supper together while the rain outside came down in sheets, my thoughts drifted back to another rainy August day.
The rain had pelted against the hospital windows, drenching the small black dog who lay on the hospital steps patiently waiting for his mistress to come out and take him home.
And then, finally, it quit raining, someone took the puppy home and the child was born. And, in that moment, my world was filled with ‘instant sunshine.’
I smile as I remember.
“What are you thinking about mom?” asked my daughter.
“Instant sunshine,” I said. “And you! It’s kind of like one and the same.”
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review