Happy Birthday

Today was my Aunt Essie’s 90th birthday.  Esther.  My mother’s little sister.  

She has been there always.  When my mother became pregnant with me she had to have total bed rest.  But my parents were in the midst of building a new house, there was no way she could be in bed at a construction site.  So she moved in with her sister and family for the duration.  There I was born.  When I was four weeks old our house was ready and we moved a state  away.  Then when I was two years old we moved the whole length of the country away. 

For birthdays, while all the other relatives sent boxes of gifts, and later cash, Aunt Essie and Uncle Gene would send a letter telling me how much they love me.  And as much as I enjoyed all the presents, I waited the most for that letter of love. 

Family milestones – bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, funerals.  An occasional visit for no reason.  These are the times I see Essie. 

Then when my mother was in the hospital for that last time, Essie flew across the  country to be with me.  All the decisions were mine, but she gave advice when asked, and support throughout.  When it was clear that nothing more could be done, Essie and I went out to a restaurant, had a bottle of wine, and toasted my mom/her sister. 

And today she is 90!  We called to say happy birthday.  She is celebrating with friends and with family over the next week, there are parties and dinners and concerts and theatre – mostly, she laughed, there is a lot of eating.  She sounded strong, and happy, and told me she’s aiming for 120. 

May G-d bless her and watch over her.

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9 Responses to “Happy Birthday”

  1. Jersey Jessie Says:

    Oh how wonderful. Everyone needs an Aunt Essie. All my aunts and uncles are gone, as are my husband’s (one was an Israeli, the other an Argentine – they went where they could from Germany in 1938 and 1939)

    Where does Aunt Essie live? Are you originally an American or are you a sabra?

    • eclecticitee Says:

      I have both American and Israeli citizenship, I’ve lived in both countries. Essie lives on the east coast of the US.

  2. Katerina Says:

    What a sweet birthday gift! I have started writing letters to my nieces and nephews as a “pen-pal” and they are writing back to my new son – I’m going to keep the letters because they’re just so wonderful and loving. I think that was a wonderful wonderful birthday gift, – Happy Birthday to your aunt!!!

    • eclecticitee Says:

      I’m glad that letters aren’t yet a thing of the past in the age of internet… they’re a treasure!

  3. TJ Says:

    My daughter (now 22 and living abroad) writes long letters to her grandmother and the cousin of her other grandmother – both in their 90’s. They love to receive her letters and she wishes they would write to her too. Both are generous with checks, but neither with the words she hopes for. You are indeed lucky to have received those letters.

    • eclecticitee Says:

      I had other aunts who sent checks… can’t say I didn’t appreciate them, but those letters were special.

  4. Knittingdancer (Ravelry) Says:

    You and your aunt seem close. I am close like that with all of my mother’s family. She came from a family of 12 kids, 9 girls and 3 boys. There are 3 girls still living, ages are 70, 73, and 86. My mother passed away last June 12th age 74 1/2 with a brain tumor.

    • eclecticitee Says:

      So sorry about your mom. Not many left in my family, my mother was one of 4, my dad was an only child (and only nephew, and only grandchild…) I try to stay in touch with those who are left, although we’re scattered all over the world.

  5. JuliaA Says:

    aunt essie sounds great. that’s wonderful that she’s still going strong at 90.

    your post made me teary–i just lost my sweet 95 yr old grandma this week. she was the last of the elderly in my family.

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