unpresent for an unbirthday

the 5th of June was supposed to be a special day… not as special as the 5th of December, but a day to celebrate, nevertheless. the idea came from my aunt, a lover of literature like me.  she called it an “unbirthday”, a word she stole from Lewis Carroll, and every year on her children’s unbirthdays, they got to choose something special to do. there were no cakes with candles or party hats or presents, but there were always smiles and laughter and (i imagine) the warm feeling of being a treasured member of a family.

ever since i was a teenager babysitting those lucky cousins, i dreamed of doing the same thing for my own children one day.  when i was pregnant with little sun, i imagined how his unbirthdays might look… maybe a day spent at Luxembourg garden, sailing his wooden boat in the fountain, riding the ponies for the first time, watching a marionette show.  and afterwards we would walk to Ladurée for macarons or let him choose some sweet treat from the local patisserie.  or if he were older, maybe we would let him stay up late watching Star Wars and eating whatever he wanted.  i wonder what he would have asked to do, what kinds of foods he would have wanted to eat. i wonder if he would have wanted to do the same thing every year or if each unbirthday would be something completely new.

today would have been his first real unbirthday, or at least the first one that he would have been able to appreciate a bit.  i would have given anything to wake my little boy up with a silly song today….i would have given anything to see him smile, to hug him, to fill his day with delights…anything to make him happy.

instead, i had to content myself with the company of our cats.  i played with them and talked to them and sometimes i picked one of them up just to feel his warm, breathing weight in my arms.  and when i found myself hanging up the laundry in the room where only little sun’s remains remain, i sang to his photo and his much-too-tiny urn.  instead of the silly song i surely would have invented, i sang his song:

the other night dear, as i lay sleeping
i dreamed i held you in my arms
when i awoke,  dear, I was mistaken,
so i hung my head and i cried.

you are my sunshine, my only sunshine….

happy unbirthday, little son of mine. (you’ll never know, dear, how much i love you…)


little sun




8 thoughts on “unpresent for an unbirthday

  1. marchisfordaffodils

    Love to little sun and to his mamas. I have such an ache in my heart for all these babies. They are so loved. The unbirthday sounds wonderful…I wish your sweet boy could have experienced it all today.

  2. Isa

    What a beautiful tradition. And a sad song–I overheard a kid the other day in a store who actually knew the second verse, which surprised me. It gets so sad after the first one. Which is appropriate, and I wish it weren’t.

  3. conceptionallychallenged

    I used to sing this for my girls, before they were born, with the main focus on “please don’t take my sunshines away”. Since then, I can’t sing it without crying.
    Much love to you and Froggy. I so wish this unbirthday would have been so different.

    Und ich schreib Dir dann auch bald mal zurueck!

  4. typhaine

    This made me cry. For your son/sun, for mine, for current and future unbirthdays.
    That day should have been so different. I am sorry.

  5. Pingback: moismiversaire | le marcassin envolé

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