You’ve been asked to do a five-minute presentation to a group of young schoolchildren on the topic of your choice. Describe your presentation.
Last month, a close family friend passed away. Our families were neighbors. We celebrated holidays together. I grew up with his children. We walked to school together. We played kickball together in the street on those long spring evenings when it seemed the night would never fall. I lounged on the gold shag rug in the basement of his house as his daughter and I shared stories. I split my lip open after a fall on the “ice” (really just frozen swampland filled with twigs waiting to be tripped upon) in his back yard while attempting to skate at night. In his kitchen I sat and enjoyed Italian cookies fresh out of the oven, coated in quickly melting powdered sugar. I trusted him like I trusted my own father, and he will always hold a special place in my heart.
This post is dedicated a family friend and neighbor who will always be thought of with a smile and a chuckle. A man who was happy on the day I was born, simply because I arrived. Thank you for the memories Mr. Farina, we will miss you dearly.
As time passes, and I am living through the losses of people from my childhood, I have found myself thinking, “Was he/she happy on the day I was born?” It’s interesting really, to think back to a day that you can not humanly remember, and yet know that your presence brought joy to someone who has life here on Earth has ended.
I chose to use a book for “Show and Tell.” On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frasier. The quotes that I use are from this book. Who doesn’t like to hear the story about the day they were born?
As I look around the room at all of your young faces, I notice something interesting. Something that we may take for granted every single day. Something really cool. That something is this: Every single one of you is different. You don’t look like anyone else. You don’t sound like anyone else. You don’t “feel” like anyone else. You are the one and only you! And that, my friends, is a very special gift.
As different as we all are, we all have something in common. We all have a special day of the year that we celebrate our very own event. That day is our birthday. What a fun day it is! It is the day you remember the moment that you came into this world. The moment that so many people were joyful because of you.
“On the eve of your birth word of your coming passed from animal to animal.” Your mom and dad, your grandparents, your brothers and sisters…all of these people (and more) learned that you would soon be born and could. not. wait to meet you!
The earth that we live on and all of its wonder and beauty was doing the same thing it does every day; everything from the sun’s rising to the ocean’s waves hitting the beaches, to the moon’s appearance in the nighttime sky. On your birthday these things happened just like they do every day, but you made it a special day.
The minute you were born, all the people who were expecting you cried with joy. “Welcome to the green Earth,” the people sang, … And as they held you close they whispered into your open, curving ear, “ We are so glad you’ve come!”
I read you this story today because you may have times when you feel sad inside, or feel left out, or you just don’t feel great. At these times, I want you to remember how happy you made so many people on the day you were born. Remember that no matter how old you get, you should always celebrate your birthday. Just like all of those people did on the very first birthday you ever had! Remember the people who smiled because of you on the day you were born. I think that will make you smile too!
Cover of On the Day You Were Born