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Note: This post was supposed to go live on 1/5, but life has a way of interrupting art. 

Happy Birthday to me.
(and little 3 yr old me in the picture)

My wife has a saying  that if you don’t plan your own party no one else will. Not entirely true, but you get the idea.

So we made some loose plans for the evening to have a few drinks with friends in town, who ever shows shows, and we’ll have a good time. Casual.

But when I awoke today I had no specific plans. My daughter Celia made me breakfast and gave me a very heartfelt, hand made card. My wife was off to do some things for a few hours, so I  decided to take a ride with my daughter to visit my mom in Queens. It’s  her birthday too and a visit was long overdue.

As we hit the road, I was a mix of emotions. I don’t know if it’s sadness for me, my mother, or for my daughter. I don’t dwell on birthdays or age very much, it’s a number. I feel pretty good.

What I do think about is how fast the years go by. When you’re younger, you really don’t get it when older people say “it goes by so fast.” How right they were. I think in 10’s and 20’s of years. The last 20 years were a blur. I was 23 20 years ago and it went so fast. Will the next 20 go by just as quickly and I’ll be 63 wondering where did the time go? Is there a way to slow down and enjoy it more? I feel like I’ve got ALOT of things that I want to do, see, experience, enjoy. How many todays do we waste waiting for someday to come? Tomorrow is not the time to start then, it should be today, right?

We get into Queens and I get a little lost, as I said it’s been a long time since we visited. I plug the cross street into the gps and we get back on track.

We stop to pick up something to bring, as Celia didn’t want to go empty handed. It’s a beautiful day out for January. Sunny, not too cold. Similar to the last time I took her to visit, 4 or 5 years ago. Too long I know.

As we drive through the gates of the cemetery, Celia remarks how it looks exactly like another one we were at for a funeral last year. She’s right, they all do kinda feel the same.

I sort of know where the plot is and we park close enough. As we walk down the aisles, Celia is pointing out all the familiar last names on the stones, wondering if the people she knows with those names are somehow related. We get to my parents grave with the name SPERO engraved at the top, and I think for the first time in her young life she feels her relation to them and can process the fact they were real. Before today I think to her they were simply gone, but now I think she can feel that they were.

Celia hugs me a little tighter and we stand in silence for a moment. After placing the flowers in the ground, I tell her how I thought it was always odd that after my father died at 47 years old in 1976, my mother had her name put on the gravestone and her year of birth. This had always weirded me and my brother out, and it still does.

1931 –

It was like from the time my father died, she was just waiting for her time to come. She was only 45 then, but spent the next 22 years waiting for her someday. And eventually someday came…

1931 – 1998

She passed away after a brief illness at the not so old age of 67, soon after our birthday that year.

As a parent now myself, I am constantly reminded of how fleeting life is in the grand scheme of things. We have a finite amount of time, and it is truly what you make of it. I lost my father when I was 6, and knew very little of him. Sadly memories of the time I had with him are very hard to come by. The moment I was now sharing with my own child, quietly mourning our loss, was a first for us, and one to cherish. We moved on to visit some other family members nearby and then began to explore some older parts of the cemetery.

As we walked the rows, we both marveled at how old and worn some of the gravestones were. “Dad! Come look at this one!” The old stone was so worn over time that you  couldn’t even make out the years. Who was buried here and when? Interesting stuff. We continued on, and found some some stones from the 1800’s with entire families there. I explained how it’s not uncommon to have a family plot where all eventually are laid to rest together.

As we were about to leave, we found a large monument, that dated back to 1799. Celia read the date in awe. Over 200 years had passed since then.


And yet here we are. Life moves on, no matter what happens in the small amount of time we have. Each day peeling back and blowing away into the sky, like leaves coming loose from trees in the fall.

Once full of life, but now a memory.



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About the author
Tommy Spero
CD @SoulNYC Founder @MixLuvCollab @MusicMy1stLang Hubby/Dad / #Drummer / Speaker / Writer / Marketing Expert on All American Makers premiering January 2015 on @ScienceChannel



2013-01-15 15:00:04 Reply

Written so beautifully and moved me to tears. So many of my relatives my age and my friends have lost their Moms and Dads. I cherish my time with mine all the more for this very fact is never far in the back of my mind. TY for sharing something so personal and intimate with us.


    2013-01-15 15:02:15 Reply

    Thanks Netty and You’re Very Welcome. Glad that I could move you in some way. I don’t plan on getting this personal all that often but it was something that just came out.

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