Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Ides of March: Auntie turns 60!

By K.J. Cardinal

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Auntie Sheila
Happy Birthday to you

Those of you who know my Aunt Sheila know why it's only fitting to start off this post by "singing" Happy Birthday. For those of you who do not know "Auntie", let me explain.

First off, Auntie is my father's oldest evidenced by her Class of '66 photo to the right (sorry I couldn't resist). But more importantly, Auntie is the Queen of Holidays, Birthdays and Gift Giving in general. She's the type of person that wraps presents by taping every last crease on a gift so it takes you forever to open them. She's the type of person that picks a theme for a gift and buys you everything known to man in that theme. If there was a professional league for celebrating holidays, Auntie Sheila would be Michael Jordan.

Growing up, Auntie would always make a huge to-do about our birthdays. Living in Maine and then Florida, it often made it tough for her to celebrate our birthdays with us in person, but that didn't stop her from going all out.

A day or two before our birthdays, we'd get a ridiculous care package in the mail from Auntie. But of course, we had to wait until our day to open it. When our birthday came, she would always call and sing Happy Birthday to us. If we weren't home, then sure enough we'd check the answering machine and there was Auntie's Happy Birthday rendition.

For the year's when we were fortunate enough to spend our birthdays with Auntie, we were in for an even better treat. Not only would we get her child-like joy, but also one of her famous birthday cakes. She is a pro cake decorator. Don't take my word for it though, just take a look at the photo to the right. For my Dad's 35th Birthday, Auntie's theme for my dad was Bud Light (I know, shocking). So, as you can see, she did up a cake that looked just like a Bud Light. Her gifts were always great, but the cake itself was always my favorite gift.

Anyway, Auntie's holiday joy didn't stop there though. It continued throughout the entire season concluding with her Super Bowl...Christmas.

When Auntie would walk in the door to spend Christmas with us, you could literally feel the holiday spirit come in with her. She'd get so excited for us and got us so fired up for the big day. She is the sole reason why our family started the insane tradition of getting up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning to open our gifts.

Now, when I say crack of dawn, that's actually incorrect. Many years, "dawn" was still a few hours a way. Waking up at 4 a.m. on Christmas morning in those days was considered sleeping in...seriously.

It was crazy. It was insane. It was unhealthy. It was what we all loved about having Auntie at our house for Christmas. Auntie actually had to rotate her holiday schedule each year (one with the Cardinals, the next with the Lords) because we couldn't get enough of it.

So as you can see, saying Auntie Sheila is the Michael Jordan of celebrating holidays might actually be an understatement...if that's possible.

Happy 60th Birthday Auntie and thanks for always making our birthdays so special. We love you!


  1. Thanks so much KJ for your writing your experience of having Auntie in your/our life. She is one very special person and I'm so glad you dedicated a entry on the Cardinal Blogs to honor her "Greatness"
    We all love Auntie Sheila so very much, Love Mom

  2. The Cake tradition is being passed on. When I told Emma we were taking Auntie out for a birthday lunch she asked, "But who will make the cake?"
    She has already put an order in for her birthday...