A Memorial Day Birthday


It was 2003, and I did not know any better. 

I had an occasion to celebrate, so I drafted a letter. 

I wrote it, and bound it, and sealed it with a kiss.

I drove it over to the post office, rushed, my deadline not to miss. 

My note never made it on time, I regret to say. 

Everyone on the other side of the world had already gone to play. 

I was in Lebanon then, and little did I know. 

That other countries had different holidays to show. 

In my home, you see, national holidays are kept by date, not day.

In the US the dates vary, with much regard to the actual day.

And so Memorial Day 2003 came and went.

With my letter to Jeff somewhere being kept.

His Memorial Day birthday that year was two days later. 

But since then it has been easier to cater. 

We now celebrate it whenever it falls.

As long as Memorial Day is close. 

A long weekend, some time away.

Yet nothing has come close to the letter of that day.

Page after page of handwritten lines. 

Music on CDs, scraps of thread, dried up vines. 

Photos, and scents, memories to keep.

To put it together I had dug deep.

A piece of history I had preserved.

And with that a precious lesson I had learned:

Deadlines are hard to meet,

When holidays shift dates, and dates take a backseat. 

memorial day

Previous articleA Mom and a Baby Get Outside: Tryon Creek
Next articleNo More Either/Or: Choose Both
Lebanese in origin, Ranya became a US citizen in 2007. Shortly after meeting Jeff through a job ad in Beirut in 2003, she moved to Portland to pursue a doctorate at PSU. From there, the two of them moved to the East Coast to begin their adventures. The last fourteen years have seen them in Portland, OR twice; in Arlington, VA twice, in Columbia, MD as well as Lebanon and Morocco. In her current life, Ranya is a teacher’s aide who loves to embark on special projects with her daughter. Their signature Mama-and-Me activity is hosting their friends for formal tea parties. She is trilingual, and is passing on the torch of language to her children who are fluent in English and Arabic. Ranya is passionate about hot yoga, and enjoys long walks. She absolutely hates driving, and reserves it for cases of dire need. She believes in the wonders of snuggles, and advocates their daily use. She lives a walking distance from her all-time favorite restaurant, Saburo, with Jeff, Jannah-Rae and Yousef. They share their one-bathroom house with her parents and Leo, the Arabic-speaking cat. Ranya writes thoughts, tots and essential oils on her blog Ranya, the Memory Keeper.