Anyway you look at it, 90 is a big number for such a little lady. I wanted to purchase something extra- special for her and strolled up and down store aisles for days looking for the 'perfect gift'. I still haven't found it. Not even the imperfect gift or a reasonable facsimile thereof. She's told me so often, "What do I need? I have everything."
I considered throwing her a surprise party, but she has never been a fan of being surprised (and neither am I) so that was crossed off the list. Besides, as Mom has often said, who's left to invite? She's outlived all of her siblings and most of her friends. I suppose we could have invited some of the Difficult People, but I didn't. I don't know if you have any Difficult People in your life, but I suspect you do. I think everyone does. And who needs DP's at a Happy 90th Birthday Party?
Normally, I would have had Mom over for a nice supper with the family, but for the last two or three years, she has decided she wants to go out for a meal at a restaurant. She says she doesn't want me to 'work so hard'. I told her it's the least I can do, but she insists, so out we go. I am all in favor of the idea, but I don't know if she enjoys it very much as she's not a big eater and restaurant meals with their big portions usually overwhelm her. Mom was a farm wife for almost 60 years before being widowed at age 81; I think it was 59 & 7/8's years to be exact, and had only gone to a restaurant to eat twice in her life as my late father was not in favor of spending money so foolishly. They both lived through the Great Depression and had to make every penny stretch and stretch some more, living way below what most people would consider 'well'. 'Eating out' was definitely not on their agenda. But now that she's been on her own for almost a decade, she's been branching out in new directions; see it's never too late.
On Saturday night, we took Grandma to a restaurant...just the six of us, Joel, Dave, Ann, Carl and I, but here I dropped the ball again. I was aiming for an early meal, as most older people don't like to eat late at night (and I know it's not good for younger people either, really) but I didn't know where to go. Joel suggested a local supper club that Carl and I hadn't been to since before we had children...it was close by and we thought why not? Wow, was the place busy! We had a long wait at a table and Joel finally remembered he had some cards in the car, so just as we were settling into our first hand of Sheepshead, we were ushered into the dining room. Mom had decided on a pork chop dinner and I was so happy she had found something on the menu she liked, but the waitress said, "Oh, sorry, we are all out of pork chops," so she had to settle for chicken. Mom is not a diva by any means, and just shrugged cheerfully and later, she said the chicken was very good. (I hope so.) We didn't leave the restaurant until after 9PM, so much for early.......oh, batting a thousand here..........
So, what did I do for the most important woman in my life? I baked her a cake. That's it. A measly box cake to boot, and I know my Culinary Arts friends are shaking their heads derisively if they're reading this, but hey, it was kinda tasty. I was going to ask Ann to decorate it for me because she would have done a much better job, but ended up making homemade frosting (that I can do, lol) and some sprinkles.
I also didn't have 90 candles. I know, c'mon, what is wrong with me? I decided to put nine candles on, each one representing a decade and then as an afterthought, added a tenth. I told Mom the tenth candle was for the next decade to come. She said, "You think I'm going to live to see 100!? Forget it!!!" and gave me one of those looks, shook her head, and blew out her candles as we all sang to her.
Mom has never been comfortable as the Center of Attention, but she let us take her picture without running in the other room. If I could look as good as she does at 90, I would be a happy camper.
What Mom has lived through the past 90 years could fill a book. Her own mother passed away at the early age of 38 from tuberculosis when my mother was only 8 years old. Due to the highly contagious nature of tuberculosis, my mother has no memories of her own mother at all, as she was kept away from her. After her mother died, her father sent her to live with various relatives and neighbors, often as hired help. I am amazed at what she went through; her stories are heart-rending.
At age 20, she married my father, and the hard work she endured as a farmer's wife alone is amazing......I wrote a long story about her in February, so if you're interested see my February 8, 2010 post entitled, "My Mother's Sunday, A Day of Rest". Mom always says hard work won't hurt anybody........apparently not, she's a living testament---Click here:
Mom, Happy Birthday.
You always said you had no idea of how to be a mother since you had no experience with having one of your own. Well, I can tell you this: You were the Best Mother in the World!
I love you,