Happy birthday - times three

The first time we sang happy birthday was right before the gifts. Jessica wanted to open them right away, before the food came. She got a butterfly necklace, a restaurant gift certificate, tickets to a play, a winter vest, and a coffee cup that read, “I love you a Latke.” The second time we sang happy birthday was at the end of the night, when our cheesecakes arrived and a candle was lit. “Happy birthday dear Jessica,” the 8 women sang in chorus around her.

“The Queen!” she interjected. We laughed and nodded our heads in love and agreement.

“Happy birthday to yooou!”

Then for reasons all her own, Sandy reached over and lit a new candle, on another part of her cheesecake, and with all the willingness and joy that only a table of friends could muster for their friend, the queen, on her birthday, we began the third and final rendition of happy birthday to Jessica.

“And many more!” Sandy concluded.

On the way home from dropping her off that night, my 3-year old daughter asked, “Mama, why did we have to drive Jessica home?”

“Well, because Jessica can’t drive,” I answered.

“But where is her mommy?”

Jessica’s parents both passed away 7 years ago, months apart from each other. Her mom was old, and she got sick I explained. So… she’s gone but now Jessica has other women in her life who care about her, like our family, and all the women who were around the table tonight, singing her happy birthday – 3 times.

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