Celebrating Birthdays is Celebrating our Humanity
Birthday’s are definitely a reason to celebrate. For Melissa, celebrating her birthday is very important to her and it’s also important to have others around her to celebrate her day. For over twenty-five years, Melissa and I have celebrated her birthday every year. This is so important to Melissa that I make sure to not schedule vacation during this time.
A Decades Long Friendship
Our relationship started when I became Melissa’s case manager while working for DDS (Developmental Disabilities Services). At that time, I, along with my supervisor Karen Smith would take Melissa out for her birthday and pay for her meal. We knew her birthday was coming up when there would be an increase in phone calls to discuss and plan. As my employment with DDS changed and I started working for Bios, we have continued this tradition.
The birthday tradition with Karen and I continued for several years until unfortunately, Karen passed away. This was hard for Melissa as she loved Karen and her relationship with her. She was concerned about her birthday and whether she and I would continue the tradition which I assured her we would. Melissa and I are almost the same age so we have lots of birthdays to celebrate.
Melissa’s favorite place to celebrate her birthday is Red Lobster. Over the years though, she has chosen other places to celebrate but we always seem to gravitate back to Red Lobster the following year. Melissa has developed relationships with Red Lobster employees who know and greet her when we arrive.
Some years, Melissa has invited lots of people and other years such as this year, she only wanted a few. She always selects who is invited to share her day. This year, she chose to celebrate with myself, Karla Montgomery who was hired 23 years ago and used to be Melissa’s job coach, Teresa Dirocco who was hired 10 years ago who used to work with Melissa in vocational and then became her Program Level Program Manager and Charmaine Mack who has been with Melissa approximately 6 years and is her current Program Level Program Manager. Anyone who receives a birthday invite from Melissa feels special because she has specifically chosen you to celebrate her day.
I treasure my relationship with Melissa and this special bond we have over her birthday. I look forward to it each year and hope it continues for many more years. Here’s to another 25!