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  • Writer's picture Jana

Are Heavenly Birthdays Better Than Those on Earth? Quite Possibly so!

My mom would have been 87 yesterday, 4/3/22. It's hard to believe she's been gone a year and a half and that the last birthday we celebrated with her was her 84th because Covid robbed us of celebrating her 85th and final birthday with us. Falling just a few weeks after the lockdown and in the darkest days of the pandemic then, there was no celebrating to be done in 2020, sadly. None of us knew it would be her last, here on earth at least.

The kids and I started the tradition last year of celebrating here heavenly birthday. We make a big deal of birthdays at the Lieblich home, so it seemed apt we should do the same for her birthdays in the afterlife. Why should we stop celebrating, just because she's not here? And for that matter, how do know she's not here and celebrating with us? Only she knows that.

This year, we did it up big. We turned the entire weekend into a celebration. Since Garin was leaving on a school trip to Yosemite on Sunday morning, we decided to have a pre-birthday dinner on Saturday evening at home, so that he could join us. We served all her favorites and decorated the table with sunflowers, also her favorite. It was a splendid day and a perfect way to send Garin off on his big adventure.

On Sunday, after dropping off Garin very early at school for his long bus ride to Yosemite , we spent the rest of the day celebrating Granny. We went to Descanso Gardens to enjoy the explosion of Spring flowers (please see the separate blog post for those fabulous photos:, then visited my mom at the cemetery, and ended her special day with dinner at the Tam O'Shanter, one of her favorite restaurants.

The kids and I commented on how special heavenly birthdays seem to be. All the fun of earthly birthdays without any of stress that seems to come with them (wanted or not). Nice to know since we'll all be having them someday.

We started the day on Saturday with a delicious breakfast of homemade waffles served with powdered sugar, sweet strawberries and whipped cream. On the side I served scrambled eggs and bacon. After breakfast we went on a tranquil walk in Hidden Hills and visited with one of our favorite equine friends, Tommy Halfinger. Now that's some fancy horsey hair! When we returned from our walk, we set our cheerful, sunflower-filled (her favorite flower) celebratory table. She would have loved it.

The kids then all made these beautiful, incredibly detailed, and creative handmade cards to honor their grandmother.

Graham helped me with dinner, which was a classic wedge salad (with all the fixings), lamb chops (her absolute favorite), mashed potatoes and sweet green peas.

After dinner, the kids shared their cards with her and we had cake. We put the cake (triple berry with both Bavarian and whipped cream) at her place setting and sang Happy Birthday. The kids then blew out the candle and made personal wishes for her. Let it be came on during dinner, right on cue, which created a moment of stunned silence, followed by laughter. She wanted to make sure we knew she was celebrating with us.

On Sunday, after our visit to Descanso Gardens, we went to the cemetery to spend time with the birthday girl. We brought the cards to share with her again and also two bouquets (one for my mom and one for my grandmother) made with a single sunflower in the center surrounded by glorious pink roses from our garden.

This is too precious for words..

A few tears were shed, but mostly, it was an afternoon of joy. We told her about Garin's trip and shared other stories of what been going on in our lives lately, as we always do.

We ended the day at the Tam O'Shanter where we had a lovely dinner in her honor. Over our table, coincidentally, hung the Scottish "Graham" coat of arms. We missed both Garin and my mom at dinner, but knew they were there in sprit.

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