If you do not worship Maurice Sendak I will not unfriend you but know that onward, I will consider you deeply damaged. These are childhood copies of Sendak books that I have kept (not sure about my Where the Wild Things Are copy but now I’m on the hunt.) The Little Bear books, written by Else Holmelund Minarik, were some of the first I read on my own and each book is loved with nicks, frays, and rips.
Yesterday was my birthday. I invited friends over for a dinner of soup, bread, and salad. After the eating, we would go outside into the cold, woods on snowshoes under the bright no-longer-quite-full moon. What a wonderful idea for a story, I thought (as I often do.) That’s when I remembered that the story of my birthday had already been written.
I spent the day cleaning (like Little Bear) and preparing for guests who would taste my Butternut Squash, Apple, Curry soup. While no cat, duck, or hen was in attendance, I too found myself surrounded by loving and supportive friends. In Little Bear’s story, he searches for Mother Bear who is absent. My mother and father are, thank goodness, far away from the snowy north and the recent storm. I am currently without partner or spouse. My children are with their father this week. My friends’ discussion of me having to make my own birthday dinner was laced with sympathy and pride, but I have gotten used to and most of the time enjoy my solitude. I didn’t imagine the evening any other way. Plus, I was able to create just what I wanted without any convincing or compromising––Birthday Soup.
At the end of Little Bear’s story, Mother Bear arrives with the cake that she secretly created. That was why she had been absent all along. For me, that magic happened before the guests arrived. My sons came by to bake me a cake and decorate it.
When we get together later this week, we will celebrate together… all over again.