November 17

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Today is Ariela’s birthday. She would have been twenty-seven. We always celebrated with a party and presents. I don’t know what she liked better — being the center of attention or getting all of the presents.

When she was in elementary school, we invited her entire class to her parties.

My mother would never let me leave anyone out. Even Evelyn Miller who had cooties. “You’ll invite Evelyn or there won’t be any party,” my mother said. “Remember, you went to her party.”

Nowadays, it’s amazing how many people don’t reciprocate. Even kids who came to Ariela’s parties year after year. The little girl who lived four houses down. The twins in her Girl Scout troop. Maybe those girls didn’t have parties.

One girl in her class always included Ariela. For one birthday, a long white limousine drove everyone to a restaurant atop a skyscraper in San Francisco. I hear that girl moved to New York City. I’m sure she’s building skyscrapers now.

Ariela had lots of bowling parties. Duck pins when we lived in Massachusetts. Ten pins in California. She took friends to the San Francisco aquarium on two birthdays. Another year to the opening of a Harry Potter movie. At twenty-one, she invited her friends to a nightclub. A few years ago, a friend threw her a surprise party. A lot of great parties, just not enough of them.

9 thoughts on “November 17

  1. I remember Ariela’s wonderful birthday parties, as well as the way you celebrated her year round. You were a parent for all stages. You helped Ariela develop her spiritual side and her love of learning. With your guidance she was able to enjoy her birthday celebrations and the days between those celebrations.

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  2. Your thoughts today really touched me. How very different were my own emotions when it came to celebrating my 2 son’s birthdays. Who would come? Who, if anyone, would ever include him. Our sensitivity to the feelings of our special kids can be overwhelming. I am sure your celebration of Ariela’s birthdays and everydays meant the world to her.
    PS: My mom made me invite the kids with cooties too!

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  3. I’ve always marveled at what wonderful parents you were to Ariela. Despite all of the challenges she dealt with so beautifully, she had wonderful good fortune in her choice of parents!

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