Last year, I decided to host a virtual celebration for my mom's birthday known as Barbara Day. My mom passed away 11 years ago in 2003, and this time a year ago, it occurred to me that even though she's no longer here with us, we can still have an occasion to celebrate the vibrant life she had and the ways she continues to love and inspire us.
Whether you knew my mom or not, I also do this as a reminder. Losing someone can be a tragedy and a source of sadness for the rest of your life. However, what I realized through hosting Barbara Day is that the time for happiness is not lost. Picking a day to celebrate someone every year, whether on their birthday or another special occasion, is an invitation to make new, happy memories for and about the loved ones you've lost. It's an opportunity to keep the community of amazing people they created alive and it's a chance to be changed, continually, by the relationship you had with someone so dear to you. I look forward to celebrating this day with our children in the future - giving them an opportunity to know and learn about their grandmother in a way that they can experience beyond watching old home movies or looking over photographs.
For Barbara Day last year - it was a success beyond what I could have ever expected. Just by putting the idea out there, so many of my friends and family reminded me of parts of my mom and stories that had slipped away from the top of my mind, including her famous recipe for Mexican Dip. Gus and I spent last year's Barbara Day eating Mexican Dip and watching a marathon of The Golden Girls, a show we watched together so often that I still know all of the lines of practically every episode. I think my favorite part however is the months that followed, as friends and family came up to me to tell me excitedly how they baked cookies that Mom loved to bake, or hosted a tea in her honor. Even my cousin Sharon was inspired to tell me a story I'd never heard about a plant my mom gave her, and then proceeded to give me a cutting for my own home. The response was overwhelming, inspiring, and moving. In short, it was a brilliant reminder that there is still joy in the world and great things can still happen.
So this week, if you knew my mom, I invite you to celebrate Barbara Day on her birthday, this Sunday, August 17, 2014. If you have loved ones you've lost, I invite you to use Barbara Day as an opportunity to do something special and fun for someone you miss.
Since we live in North Carolina now, I'm taking this opportunity to invite anyone in Fayetteville that felt close to my mom to meet me for one of our favorite afternoon dates growing up - TCBY. If you're a local to Fayetteville and read this, please join us this Sunday in Westwood Shopping Center anytime from 2-4pm. And if you're not nearby, please do something fun and special in honor of mom and feel free to let me know.
I wish everyone a Happy Barbara Day, no matter how you celebrate, and I love you Mom.
If you're looking for a few ideas, here are a few of my favorite suggestions for things that remind me of Barbara:Mom's Mexican Dip RecipeMom's Toffee Bar Recipe Watching The Golden Girls Going shopping at The Pilgrim in Fayetteville Writing handwritten thank you notes Spending time in your garden Giving thoughtful gifts to others Making wine spritzer with fruit and having friends over