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This was a strange birthday for me.  It was a BIG one, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about that “number,” so I told my children and friends that I don’t want any big deal.  I don’t want a party, presents or any hoopla surrounding this BIG day.

All I wanted to do was just spend an evening with my dear friends at their home in Quogue, NY as we do all the time, and pretend that this day was not here.  They said fine and that was to be it, no big deal!

My daughter said to come for dinner so two of my grandchildren could wish me, as usual, a happy birthday, no big deal!

My other friends said let’s have dinner Saturday night, no celebration, just dinner, no big deal!

A second group of friends asked “What are you doing Sunday night for dinner, no celebration, no big deal!”

This was truly the BEST birthday I can remember!  And, for the people close to me, it was a big deal; they showed it with all the love that they could possibly give to me.

Balloons in Quogue, lots of cards and a special personal gift, their love and friendship. Remember, I said no presents!

But, there is one memory in particular that will stay with me forever.  My family were all there to surprise me and celebrate with me and remind me of the importance of family. My husband Milt, my three children, my seven grandchildren, my Mom (what a blessing), and my oldest and dearest friend Lynne circled around me with hugs and kisses.  I truly felt the love, what could be better? Unfortunately, my Maryland family (my stepson, daughter- in- law and two more spectacular grandchildren) could not join us, as it was a week night; that would have made it even more perfect.

The table was filled with cards that each of them picked out on their own. That was so nice because it really showed all of their personalities. I laughed and I cried, and when they brought out the birthday cupcakes in the shape of an OG (my nickname is Grandma OG,), I couldn’t believe it.  But the most beautiful memory I will always have was a book that they created of “Our Family.”

“Family” has always been the most important thing in my life; without it I feel empty and I have always expressed that to all of them.  My book of family includes all the people I love from the beginning of our integrated family to the present.

Yes, it was a hard birthday to swallow, but with the help of my friends, family and most of all, my husband Milt, it went without a hitch.  And, one week later, I am still talking og birthdayabout what a wonderful birthday I had, even though I said, “no big deal.”

My little secret:  Take a breath and enjoy every moment of what life offers you.  It is magical. “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. “Together we make a family.” With all their love.



Author: Olga Cohen

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