one fine morning

May 24, 2011

For one thing, it was sunny, after days of grey clouds.

There were corn cherry scones from Arizmendi. And some wonderful sheep’s milk ricotta drizzled with our own honey. And strawberries.

Good music played. Some DeVotchKa. And the new Fleet Foxes that’s been in heavy rotation.

There were presents. Things that any May baby would love.

But best of all: there were five people around the breakfast table.

We’ve had a tradition, since the kids were babies, of family breakfasts for birthdays. But this year, with H at college, it was never quite the same. There were just four of us, and a gap at the table. H even spent his own 19th birthday, just a week before, at school in New York.

Everyone was here for Mama’s birthday. And that was really the best present anyone could have given me.

Well, except for this card. I’m always telling the kids that I don’t want store-bought presents. Make me something. A drawing. A cake. A playlist. It was easier when they were little, but now the older two feel like their handmade gifts aren’t enough. Luckily, this May those older two were too busy to shop. So the night before my birthday–when I was out–all three conspired and made this giant card together.

T drew.

Lulu found poetry.

H cut and assembled paper.

I love it dearly.

Inside there are sentiments. We have another tradition, on special birthdays and celebrations, of compiling Lists of Great Things for people. My extended family made a list of 70 Great Things about Gramps for my dad’s 70th a few years back. The lists are always a fun combination of sweet and silly–on my dad’s list we complimented his patience and teased about his toes and his twin.

According to H, as the kids were finishing the card, Mr. T “appeared” with a list of his own. Chris’ grandmother always had a phrase: Don’t throw roses at yourself. I hesitate to share T’s list–roses if there ever were roses. But I figured all my mother-readers would appreciate it. Plus, he’s nine. I only have a little time left of his not minding what I share here. And only a little time left for him to see me in such light.

8 Great Things about Mama

  • She makes everyone around her happy.
  • She is never impatient.
  • She is nice to everyone.
  • She is never bitter.
  • She is a great writer, knitter, teacher and mom.
  • She is always honest.
  • She is good at reading when she’s asleep. (I have a tendency to nod off while reading aloud…)
  • She is always (his spelling) greatfull.

It really was one fine morning.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin May 24, 2011 at 8:51 am

What a wonderful list of eight. I’d say your a super-Mom based on those attributes and since T’s nine and fully coherent, they’re all true! Glad you had a great on-going B-day with your family.


patricia May 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Well, T is a bit of an optimist, but I’ll take his list!

Thanks, Kristin!


Just Peaches May 24, 2011 at 10:43 am

Can a year have passed already? It feels like you just posted about eating yogurt and stewed rhubarb: a delicious image in my mind.

I love that you are “greatfull”. What a fantastic misspelling — he couldn’t have coined a better word. In Mr. T’s eyes you are obviously both thankful and full of “greatness”.

Happy birthday Patricia. Thank you for sharing your wonderful traditions.


patricia May 24, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I just bought more rhubarb!

(Here’s that recipe again, for curious rhubarb lovers: )

Thanks, Peaches!


marta May 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Happy Birthday! I’m glad you had all your chicks under your wings!

Marta from Lisbon


CathyT May 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Happy Birthday! So wonderful to have the whole family at the table for your birthday, and I too love homemade cards!!


Susan May 24, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Happy Birthday! Love the list. Especially greatfull. It feels like grateful and great and full and full of greatness.


patricia May 24, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Thanks, friends!


Lisa May 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm

This one brings tears to my eyes….LOVE IT. You must be so proud of what tender, loving & insightful children you are raising. I’m eager to steal your birthday traditions….thank you for sharing. best birthday wishes…


patricia May 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm

The Great Things About lists are a tradition worth stealing! They’re really fun to write together as a group, for a special person–especially when you have a mix of kids and adults. They’re a great writing exercise, which I love (because to make a list interesting, you have to come up with apt, specific details about the featured person), and of course, they are a heartfelt treat for the recipient.

Thanks so much for saying hello, Lisa!


Barbara May 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Best. present. ever.

My birthday is Friday and my daughters were asking me (a little frantically) what I wanted. My default (and sincere) answer is always, “A nice card.” But I think they’ll love the idea of the lists of great things–we’ve done some variations on this in the past. And what better present could there be?

Happy Birthday!


patricia May 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Long time, no hear, Three Girl Pileup Barbara! So nice to see you here again!

I hope you give those girls a big hint about adding a list to that nice card. And I hope, even more, that you have a fabulous birthday!


Amy Bowers May 26, 2011 at 3:18 pm

wow! happy birthday! i love the card!


Emily May 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

This mother-reader LOVES the list of eight. Throw the roses!


jill May 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

Happy Birthday! And thanks for the inspiration and great tips. Best wishes, jill

(ps. just finished my 2nd teaching placement with great feedback and compliments. yay!)


patricia May 28, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Congratulations on your teaching placement feedback, Jill! I’d love to hear some of the highlights…


molly May 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm

happy birthday my friend!!! (a few days late – if my family made a list of things about me, it might include something like, “has no concept of time”, but i’d take it as a compliment.)

i could use your bee expertise and your bee bible these days. our hive has now rejected two queens, which might our bees came with their own queen. let’s hope she’s not a virgin queen!


patricia May 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I have no expertise on rejected queens! Oh dear! Have you been to the Beemaster Forums? I always get good advice there.


suzee May 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm

So sweet. And all true, those roses.


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