“Best” Birthday Wishes

My extraordinarily beautiful, wonderful mother just had a birthday yesterday. She celebrated by seeing two church programs with her grandchildren in them. Then, of course, came the family dinner and present exchange, hosted by my fabulous sister-in-law.
Are all moms hard to buy for? I can never figure out a good gift for mine. If you have any great mom gift suggestions, comment for me and grown children everywhere. Then came dessert, and, as we were just about to leave, we remembered that we hadn’t yet sung to her.
My kids love to sing to relatives on their birthdays. This usually involves a cell phone and some purposefully raucous singing as the listener probably cringes and takes his/her ear away from the phone in order to avoid permanent hearing loss. (If I allow my children to keep it up, maybe I can buy my mom hearing aids next year and my gift woes will be over. Just kidding. ) But my lucky mother got to have her songs in person this year.

We all started with the traditional “Happy Birthday” song, followed by an add-on chant I’d never heard and can’t remember. Then, the kids sang the version I knew when I grew up: “Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like and monkey, and you smell like one too.” Maybe not the kindest show of affection from your grandchildren, but taken good naturedly by my mom.

Then, my sweet niece sang one I haven’t encountered before, and I’m not sure I want to encounter again: “Happy Birthday to you, you just stepped in poo. Don’t waste it, just taste it, Happy Birthday to you.” I’m sure it’s all the rage with the third grade set this year. Being a sixth-grade teacher, my mom also shrugged off this dubious wish from her granddaughter.
And, lucky me, I’ll probably get a reprise of it from my own children when my birthday comes in a few weeks. I’ll have to convince them to use something else since the “Happy Birthday” song is copyrighted, and they don’t want to have to pay royalties. Maybe they can write their own. But I can only imagine what that might turn out to be.
On second thought, I think I’ll stick with the zoo and monkey version. But maybe if they sing the one about a dirty shoe, I won’t have any appetite for my cake and might not get the birthday bulge this year.
Yeah, I’ll just have them sing away.


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