This writing is all about ME. So, if you can’t stand self-indulgence, then you should move on immediately.

I was used to intense birthday celebrations since childhood.  Making a fuss of a birthday was a milieu I grew up in. My mom went to a lot of trouble to make it special, to make the birthday boy/girl feel special, whoever it was. She also made her friends feel special. Somehow she felt special too by seeing everybody else  feel special. She had a good friend from childhood. They both got married at different stages, had their families and ended up living far away from each other, which resulted in less contact. But they religiously called each other every year on their birthdays until my mother died at 84 years old.  And on these birthday calls they chatted away, catching up on the year’s news, and time and distance fell away. Isn’t that special...

…l’orage approche…

oil on canvas, 30x30cm

l'orage approche

After leaving home, my birthday celebration years continued. With my family. With a small but close circle of friends. And a few traditions. I have a friend celebrating the same day as mine. Every year on our birthday, Naomi baked(and still does) this incredible black forest cake. Only this one time a year. And it was tradition that I would go over to her house  for a quick coffee(before all the visits started) and the two of us would feast on a slice each. With another friend I shared another kind of tradition; I baked her a cake on her birthday and she bake me one on my birthday…I once got a  sticky marsh-mellow cake from her and on her birthday she got a giant pink and white cake smothered in rose petals from me. We laughed. This very same friend, Colette, booked an airoplane ticket  a few years later to share  my 40th  birthday with me in South Carolina, US. Isn’t that special…

I had a surprise one year, organized by Mariaan, one crazy, deliciously fun friend. Nobody called me on my birthday that year. It was a strange phenomena.  It just didn’t happen. I was always spoiled with phone calls and drop-ins and cards from very early morning on every birthday. That year…nothing! Nada! Except of course for my family living far away. By the evening I was in such a bad state of depression that I decided to leave town the next day, never to return. I would go live with the animals in the bush. On our way out to “dinner” that evening(my last meal in civilization, I decided…), I opened the door and stared into the laughing faces of my whole circle of friends.  Each with a huge dish of food and drinks and coloured gifts with huge bows and even huger smiles. We ate and drank and danced, they washed dishes and we kept the neighbourhood up until early hours. Isn’t that special…

Then we left South Africa. Celebrating birthdays changed face very suddenly. The next birthday was only the four of us and our good friends Cecily and family in Felixstowe, who were there for one year.  I tried very hard to be original, making us a meal in grandiose many courses, wearing  evening attire with french perfumes, sat down to a pristine set table…just to have an over the top, overcooked meal with the dessert literally running off the meringue! But the memory of laughter and jokes and joy of sharing with family and two good friends in a foreign country stays firmly on the plate. Isn’t that special…

Since then, birthdays have been quiet and I’ve been spoiled by my family with love,  gifts early morning in bed, breakfasts, and intimate dinners in chateaux, dinners by die fire and a far away call here and there. Isn’t that special…

...le forêt…

oil on canvas, 24x33cm

le forêt

This week I was surprised with facebook wishes from all over the planet, with Marta being the leader of the pack..starting it off already a day early! I was bowled over by the wishes from people I have just recently met, or never met yet , or only seen photos of, or only exchanged emails with and even people I never thought would care to send me wishes! I received a mail from a friend who is away on holiday in Corsica, who cared enough to take some time from precious sunny days to send me good wishes. I received an international  mobile phone call from a good friend in SA who couldn’t reach me at home in Montlouis, who will have a horrendously expensive bill to pay very soon!! There is a gift waiting for me in the mail and by opening it, my house will be strewn with glitter stars and I will find a star on the floor somewhere until next year when her next gift will show up, decorated with glittery stars! After all the quiet years with only my small family here in France and  a call here and there from my family and friends far away. Now isn’t that special…!

Maybe you receive a lot of special attention on your  special day in the year and might think this is peanuts to the attention you receive! It is possible. Maybe you’re reading here and thinking peeved how lucky I am for you don’t even receive a single note or call! It is possible. Which makes this writing then not so selfindulgent any more. Because at some stage or another, we all have the need to feel special. To have  a memory of one day in a year that belonged only to you, a day that you can look back onto and say: “Now wasn’t that special..!”

19 thoughts on “Now isn’t that special..

  1. Happy, Happy Birthday, Ronell!!! I’m here in Halifax, Nova Scotia clear across the country from home on the west coast. By the time you read this, t will be the next day after your Birthday, but here it is still the 18th, so all my very special wishes for new year of life ahead of you. May all your dreams and hopes for theyear come true.

    Birhthdays were special when I was growing up, too. Even before going to school or to work in the morning, the Birthday girl or boy would find a small gift next to their coffee cup. Mom would always make sure we weren’t going to spend the day wondering if everyone forgot our special day. Then in the evening my father would make sure we had a fabulous dinner or party. He was the cook in the family and came up with great buffets and parties.

    Bonne anniversaire, Ronell!

  2. I’ll add another Happy Birthday as well Ronell, even if it may be belated by the time you read it.

    Birthdays are special and no matter what the level of celebration, as long as you have family and friends, they will always be a delight.

    I hope your day is/was all you wanted it to be.

  3. Oh Happy Happy Belated Birthday Ronell!! Special occasions for a very special person – what fun! And absolutely gorgeous paintings – your enjoyment of plein air is abundantly clear. It was my birthday last week and as the day went on got specialler and specialler (started off a bit like your ‘nobody called’ year!) it didn’t end with quite such a party, but much love, laughter, and good food. Have a wonderful new birth year and keep painting!

  4. Wonderful paintings, Ronell – they are a celebration in themselves.

    I’m glad you had another great birthday. Can’t get over how many of my friends have birthdays around this time of year. It must mean something.

  5. And a belated happy birthday, Ronnel!!! I loved hearing about your birthdays — yes, we all want and NEED to feel special, and it’s sad that there are so many who do not. GREAT GREAT paintings .. wow,I LOVE the woodland scene! I hope you enjoy the rest of your year!!!

  6. What a VERY SPECIAL post Ronell! You are indeed blessed and not self-indulgent at all. It’s a reverie of all you friends and family who obviously love you very much.


  7. Joyeux anniversaire -euh , mes voeux les plpus sincères – euh!!!!!! ;-D

    Et un grand merci à toi car c’est un des plus beaux textes qui m’ait été donné de lire sur les anniversaires!

    Et j’adore ces deux toiles!!! Des nouveautés de cet été???? C’est superbe!!

  8. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, and here’s a sprinkling of stars on your special day, all the way from Oregon, USA **********************************

  9. RONELL ,Ne perds jamais la richesse de ton âme ,ni ton talent pour l’art!Tu es à la fois peintre et écrivaine ,une artiste complete qui s’exprime si facilement,si sincèrement,ton enthousiasme me touche bien et j’adore ton style,c’est un plaisir pour moi de lire tes d’admirer tes dessins,tes couleurs vives comme tes sentiments.
    Bon anniversaire et par hasard si un jour dans l’avenir même si peu de gens se rappelle de ton anniversaire,ne te sens jamais malhereuse parce qu’ un personnage comme toi accompagnée de son talent ne peut jamais se sentir seule !..

  10. What a lovely post! Yes, in my family, too, birthdays were “special.”
    So, although we do not know each other in person, here’s my wish for a year stocked with memories of special days Ronell.

  11. Oh, Ronell, not self-indulgent at all, but nostalgic and grateful and sweet. These days, I’m almost always on the road on my birthday, and celebrate it alone, but I tend to remember wonderfully sweet days from the past with friends and family when I toast a new year. I hope yours was VERY special, and your art is glorious here!

  12. Ronell – What a wonderful post. Totally delightful. (And, OK, it made me want black forest cake.) The paintings are terrific, and I really related to your cogitations on specialness and birthdays. So add my “happy birthday” to all the rest.

  13. We have birthday weeks 🙂 So in that tradition…. Happy Birthday! The joy continues 🙂

    Your paintings are scrumptious. Love the dance of colors.

  14. I dont have speciel BDays for me the family I had did not do this type of things buts whats funny they got a child who is very sensitive to all this go figure. So I wish you a fantastic BD qand many more. I read your writtings hear and how blessed you are to have people who love and care for you so. I wonder why some of us get blessed and some dont?

Tthank you for your visit and comment, II appreciate it!

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