When I was a little girl, April was always my favorite month. April held the promise that spring was on it's way, and not far behind, summer. It was the beginning of the 4th Marking Period at school, and that meant school was almost over. But most important, at that time in my life, it was my birthday month. My birthday was always marked by a big party with my relatives on one day, a small party with my friends on another day, and going out to dinner with my family on "the actual day". So really, my birthday was usually celebrated three times during the month, not just once.
Of course, as I got older, April no longer held the magic that it once held when I was a child. My birthday was no longer over-celebrated as my mom had stopped the big parties when I was about twelve (except for my Sweet 16). Instead, my birthday celebration in my teens was hanging around with my friends, and dinner with my immediate family. In my early 20s, it was going out to a bar, dancing, and again, hanging with friends.
The year I turned 28, April was wonderful. I had already been with Bobby for nine months, and he spoiled me on my birthday. I no longer cared nor needed to be "out" on my birthday, cuddling with him on the couch in our apartment was more than enough. It was also my second year as a teacher, and once again, it meant the beginning of the end of the school year, and I looked forward to my summers off.
It was just the two of us until my mid thirties. April became "Mommy's Birthday Month" according to my children, and it was then celebrated with cake, cookies and gifts that Bobby let the children pick out. I got lots of plastic flowers and home-made gifts, and one year, the boys insisted on taking me to Build-A-Bear for my own birthday bear. They got joy out of my birthday, and I got my joy watching them.
The April that I turned 41 was difficult...Bobby suffered his heart attack, fell into a coma, had a triple bypass, but emerged feeling better and healthier than he had before the attack. So that April was really significant...it was the month he looked Death in the face and flipped it the bird. We grew even closer together that year as a couple, as well, which I thought was really impossible, because we were close to begin with!
For the years following the heart attack and my forty-first birthday, April became "no big deal". My birthday came and went without a large celebration, since my kids became teenagers. When you are in your forties, your birthday no longer holds the wonder of when you were a kid. Presents become obsolete, and, at least in my case, it becomes very difficult for me to even think of what I "want for my birthday", because materialistically speaking, I have everything I need or want. But despite all this, Bobby always found a way to make my birthday special, even if we were at work all day and driving the kids around all evening to various activities.
Then two years ago, April held horrible news...Bobby had cancer.
One year ago, April became the dreaded month of the year. Bobby passed away in April. It will always be the month he passed away, even as my own life goes on.
April is no longer my favorite month of the year. And while it still does hold the promise of spring, and the approach of summer, my favorite season, I just cannot get passed the fact that it is also the month he passed away. It will never again be the same.