Sunday is my birthday. I must be the luckiest 56 year old girl in the whole wide world. I still love having birthdays, even if I don't much like the numbers. I have so many fond memories of my birthday. I think I was about 8 when Mom bought me my first Barbie. I was so excited. Mom has mentioned her disappointment that she didnt get me a real Barbie (funny... there is no such thing as a real Barbie). But as for me... I was thrilled. So thanks Mom. I remember my 15th birthday. I dieted the summer before and started 8th grade slim and trim. Mom bought me a beautiful sweater that year. I really did feel beautiful. Thanks again! When our kids were little they always made a big deal out of my birthday... and they still do. Thanks kids. Fred has tried various interesting ways to surprise me. Like the year he left to go "pick up dinner" so I wouldn't have to cook. Then he came home with a vibrating back massager (for me???) and a pizza from Sam's Club. Thanks Fred... I think. Sorry I couldn't resist mentioning that one, but it was the exception to the rule. He has always found ways to make me feel loved and appreciated on my birthday. And always tells me he thinks I am beautiful then laughs when I roll my eyes. When I turned 40 Mom and Fred planned the perfect celebration. No crowd ready to jump out and yell surprise. No embarrassment. Just my family, gifts, funny stories and lots of love. My friend Lynda never forgets my birthday. Not even the year she was away on a Disney Cruise. This morning beautiful flowers arrived and no surprise the card said "Happy Birthday Susan, from Jim and Lynda". Mom always calls to sing a few lines of Happy Birthday, no matter where I am. My Grandmother also used to call me every birthday and send me a card with 2 brand new 1 dollar bills. Its been 23 years since she passed away, but I think of her and it makes me smile even though I miss her. This year is bitter sweet for me. Its the first year that I will miss hearing Dad call me Sue Lynn and wishing me a happy birthday. I think about him every day and miss him so very much. Even though my heart hurts, I am so very grateful for him and look forward to the day I will again hear his voice. Loving parents, my sweet Grandmother, a devoted husband, wonderful children and grandchildren- truly the best family ever- plus good friends. I really am the luckiest 56 year old girl in the whole wide world.