My mother, who died a little under four years ago, would have turned 82 today. It all still feels so odd - the not-celebrating of it. The birthday of hers I most often remember was her 60th. She was not happy about it at all, and I was determined to make it memorable in a happy way. Mom loved animal figures all her life - clay, brass, stuffed - so over the course of a couple weeks I found 60 unique animal figures to give her. I lugged them all the way from my home in Texas to my folks' home on Long Island - and what a hit they were! All five of her granddaughters were there, pretty young kids then, and some of the animals made their way into the kids hands, but Mom kept the majority.
When she died and I chose items of hers I wanted, I chose most of the animals.
Mom was simple, and complicated - actually, she was simply the most complicated person I ever knew. That made much of her life difficult for her to negotiate, and she lived with disappointment and unhappiness for much of her life. Yet she also knew joy, pleasure, fulfillment. A woman of extremes. A woman of deep intelligence, a sharp wit, astute observations.......
And a woman who loved animal figurines - the more eccentric looking, the better.
I believe in reincarnation, and I like to think she's been reincarnated as deeply beloved animal.