The Birthday I Will Never Forget

The Birthday I Will Never Forget

I just turned 29, but the year I turned 26 is the birthday I will never forget. Although it’s been a couple years, I remember that day so clearly. It was just like any other day to be honest. Once my parents were home, we had dinner together. We already had a big celebration couple days earlier with my extended family. Unfortunately, I ended up dislocating my shoulder during that big family hang out.  Despite having an arm sling on, it was nice to have a quiet dinner with my parents. After dinner, my mom had surprised me with a birthday cake that she brought home. She told me to come back in ten minutes so that she can set it up for me…

Finally my parents called me down so we that we could enjoy the cake together as a family. They wanted to sing “Happy Birthday”, and for me to blow out the candles… It was such a bittersweet moment sitting there with my parents and that cake before me. I wasn’t even expecting a cake, but my mom wanted to bless me. As I sat there, all I could do was think about everything that had happened the previous year as well as everything that didn’t… Couldn’t believe another year had passed me by. Couldn’t believe how many things have changed. Couldn’t believe how some things didn’t. Everything was just different though. Nothing would ever be the same.

I remember sitting there with the lights dimmed and my parents singing joyfully, “Happy Birthday” (in Korean of course). I sat there with a smile. Not so much a smile of happiness or joy, but one of just trying to make it another day. A one to show that I appreciated my parents. A smile hoping I could make it another year. Not knowing what was ahead. Not knowing what to expect, but just facing it with a smile anyways. In the middle of my parents’ singing, I couldn’t keep it in any longer, and tears started to flow down. As they sang this line, “Happy birthday to our beloved son,” I completely broke down… and as I cried in that moment, my mom stood there with me, held me, and then cried with me…

A mix of different emotions.  Not a single word was said.  Nothing had to be said. But somehow she knew what was on my heart.

Candles were melting away. Another day was passing by. And we cried together…

In that moment of hurt, pain, and loss, on my birthday of all days… I remember it still.

By far one of the hardest days ever… Yet that moment might have been the greatest birthday gift I’ve ever received.  And because of that gift, it became the birthday I will never forget.

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