Today is my birthday.
Yesterday was – and always will be to me, though they have long ago passed on – my parents’ anniversary. I was their first anniversary present. The last week in July was always a big deal in our house.
An only child, I inherited a lovely home in a tiny village on Buzzards Bay, near Cape Cod. And though I’ve lived in Manhattan more than 30 years, my hometown is where I am today, hanging out on the beach with my family, and visiting the grave of my parents.
I am not there nearly enough, but I do try to tend to the cemetery when I can. As time has gone on, the plot has become inevitably and sadly fuller: an uncle from both sides of the family, with two widowed wives here still. As in life, it turned out that everyone wanted to be together.
The grave is always graced with pebbles and shells from family visitors, and I try hard, often with a cousin’s help, to have flowers and such that I think everyone would like: pansies in the spring, if I manage it, pink geraniums and alyssum in the summer, a wreath at Christmas. I pull the weeds, and it tugs at my heartstrings. The strangest part is knowing that I’m tending what will be my own grave, and hoping that someday someone will do the same for me.
Of course, I’m far from perfect, as you’ll see all too often during this year of Good Deeds. I did have to steal some little pumpkins back from the grave one Thanksgiving morning when my cornucopia centerpiece looked a little sparse. Thanks, guys.
It’s never too late to do the little things.