Tuesday, March 25, 2008

B is for Belated

My cousin, B, had a birthday last week. I didn't forget. In fact, I even used my top-secret high-tech back-channel resources (i.e. I asked my sister, who asked another sister) to verify the exact date. So on the appropriate day (the 24th), I sat down to record some thoughts and memories of B. Of course, as soon as I was situated, Grace demanded to air her thoughts also. I tried deflecting her chubby fists as she batted at the keyboard, but she's surprisingly adept with electronics.

"Anyone who knows B admires her wfjlkkkkkkkkkk, " we wrote. "B's afawwwwwww is pppppp."

It didn't take me long to realize my heartfelt message had become garbled. Perhaps even obscene. (It's hard to know with Grace.) And so the rest of the tribute had to wait.

I hadn't planned to make it wait so long, of course, but finding quiet time with the computer has been tricky. To tell the truth, though, I'm glad I had a little extra time to ruminate. Over the last several days, I've enjoyed bouncing around thoughts of B. BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB (Grace has too.) But as fun as it's been, it's time to let those crazy bees out of my head. So here goes!

B is for balanced. B has this quality about her that's a little hard to describe, but if you know her, you'll know what I mean. She's steady. She's solid. However chaotic things get, B stays calm and stable. She's not easily swayed by whim or trend or gossip or drama, and she doesn't get all worked up about things that don't matter. I love that about her.

Don't misunderstand. B isn't a drama queen, but she's definitely not boring. In this case, B is for NOT boring. As I flipped through photos, I couldn't find many featuring B with a serious expression. Why bother, when there are so many silly faces to be made?

In fact, I think it's safe to say that B is for blast. As in having one. My senior year of college, I lived with my sister, Peanut and B lived with her sister, Taffy a few blocks away. The four of us spent a lot of time together. We went to football games, planned parties and orchestrated dates. We watched movies. We hung out. We ate brownies from the sidewalk (when necessary).Here we are trying to decide what to wear to an upcoming dance. That's B there in the flip flops. And here's B and me with our friend Uri about to leave on a top secret spy mission, by way of a local dance club. And, yes, of course we caught 'em. The bad guys, that is.

I did actually graduate from college, but thinking back on it now it's hard to see how. I don't remember much studying. But I do remember having a lot of fun. B is central to most of my favorite memories.

B is for brainy. You know that one book? With the guy and the thing at the place? B's read it. And she's read that other one too. She's always in the middle of a book, she'll be on to a new one the next time you see her. Watch out, though, cause this B's in to more than just book learnin'. Just before B got married, I was in her room helping her get ready to move. During that process, I made the mistake of taking the lid off a shallow white box she had stacked in a corner with several others just like it. Much to my alarm, the box was full of neatly pinned and labeled moths. I might have jumped (and screamed) just a little bit as I dropped the box (don't worry, they were already dead). Those specimen have probably crumbled to dust by now, but I bet B has something new packed away in those innocent looking boxes. So be careful snooping around closets, cause B is for (dead) bugs!

Bug collector or not, B is for brave. If you haven't heard the story of her evacuation from Albania, you really need to. Even before that narrow escape, though, I knew B was a toughie. When we'd get together growing up, we'd usually end up at a playground a few blocks from B's family's house. Occasionally there were run-ins with other kids who (stupidly) didn't want to do things our way. And sometimes bullies made the mistake of picking on the little kids. But not with B around. She was the first to stand up to thugs. Usually, push didn't come to shove and the conflict was resolved peacefully (if not quietly) with the rival bands of children heading off in opposite directions. But we always knew, B had our backs. The most lasting marks of these conflicts, I think, was that confidence--knowing that someone who loves you is looking out for you.

An equally vivid image from those years shows B's more tender side. Growing up, our families were lucky to be involved in the Hill Cumorah Pageant. One year all of us cousins prepared a musical number called "Because He Loves Us." B translated the song into American Sign Language to make it easier for her brother N, who did most of his communication by sign, to participate. She taught the whole group the signs for the chorus, and signed the verses herself (with another brother, Paul). The effect was quite powerful. The recollection still brings tears to my eyes. We still sing it as a family on occasion, and every time I think of B signing the verses. In my mind, B is for "Because He Loves Us."

I guess what it all comes down to is B is for blessed, because that's what my life is with B in it.


I love you, B. Happy (belated) Birthday!


dani said...

I'd have to COMPLETELY agree with your tribute to B, Boss, even so I wasn't around for all those fond & fun memories of yours from growing up with B. In the time that I've known B, I've learned ALL those things about her and more. And for recent proof of B's ability to stay balanced even during chaos, one only needs to read her entry about the arrival of little "Squishy" as I call Baby. That's pretty BALANCED if you ask me! *grin*

Happy "B"day, B! We love you, dani (& paul)

Peanut said...

Happy Birthday, B! I love you! Thanks for the tribute post, Boss. I love you too!

Lady said...

I hope you had a great one!!! Very nice tribute Boss - that's why the rest of us leave it up to you!! By the way - my birthday is Feb 19th. wink wink!!!

Ree said...

I was thinking of B last week as well. Thanks for translating thought into action and sharing all those fun memories, Boss. B truly is a B-eautiful person, inside and out. Hope you had a wonderful Birthday, B.

Princess Gerty said...

I think I cracked up at every picture! Thank you so much Boss! It is all the truth! (oops! except she was evacuated from Albania). But all that good stuff about B, that's the TRUTH! Love you B!

Boss said...

Oopsie! Thanks, Gertie. You girls and your foreign missions. How can I be expected to keep them straight? But I stand by everything else!

Froga-lee said...

B is awesome! Thanks for sharing those great pictures of so many memories I missed. It's great to have a new window into why we love and admire her.

B said...

Sorry I'm so late getting to this. That was fun to read, Boss! Thank You! My Birthday was great..thanks you all for your well wishes! I love you all!