Another Trip Around the Sun

Spring bursting through the dregs of winter.

Today is my birthday, and I don’t ever seem to get tired of having them. It’s a great time of year for it, early spring when the day is finally a little longer than the night and daffodils are blooming everywhere. I appreciate my parents arranging this for me.

This past winter, I was about as depressed and anxious as I’ve ever been, but my own light is shining a little brighter again, too. Though this is my second consecutive pandemic birthday, I think I can enjoy the occasion. I’m off from both of my paying jobs today and plan to spend the day not putting pressure on myself. I’m going to Zoom with some friends in a little while. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous later, so a long afternoon amble will be in order. I’ll follow that with sending my husband to get carry-out so I don’t have to cook dinner.

I’v already had my birthday present for a few days — something I’ve wanted for a long time and that has improved my life at least 25%. Friends, I am 57 years old today, and for the first time ever, I have a headboard for my bed. I can now sit up and read without murdering my back. The headboard is nothing fancy, an inexpensive one from Target, but it has not disappointed as far as the reading in bed experience goes.

Happy day, everyone, wherever you happen to be in your own solar cycle!

Old and Young, It’s All Relative

Every year we have this cluster of celebrations in our family. My kids’ birthdays are May 13 and May 15th. Mother’s Day always falls right in around there, too, this year sandwiched in between.

Unbelievable as it is to me, my oldest turned twenty-two yesterday. That’s the same age I was when I got married. Whoa if true! And it is true.

As an official adult, they spent their birthday at work. They’re employed as assistant manager at a retail store that caters largely to children, and as a result often come home with adorable or hilarious stories.

Yesterday’s tale involved a conversation with a little girl who was celebrating her own birthday and, of course, had to let everyone know. It went like this —

My kid: “That’s cool. It’s my birthday, too! How old are you?”

Little girl: “Six! How old are you?”

My kid: “Twenty-two.”

Little girl: “Oh.” Pause. “Do you have dentures?”

What’s young and what’s old? It’s all relative, isn’t it?


Another Birthday

My mom made it another year. Last weekend we celebrated her 89th birthday. Going out is too hard for Mom any more. But we had a good celebration anyway. One of my nephews made it into town (the one she likes to mention to people as “my grandson, the eye doctor”) and my 18-year-old baked a truly delish chocolate cake. photo And I found the perfect birthday gift. My mom worked as a welder during World War II. So for the shelf in her room, what could be more appropriate than this? photo Yep, I bought my mom a superhero action figure for her 89th birthday. She loved it.

Happy Mother’s Day

Both of my kids’ birthdays fall near Mother’s Day each year. So we roll it all up into one big celebration. My son will be 15 tomorrow and my daughter 18 on Wednesday. They may be young adults, but they chose a zoo outing for the birthday activity.

As we entered, my daughter said, “We’re adults now. You don’t have to stay with us.” Followed shortly by “Will you get us wristbands so we can get into the children’s zoo area?”  Yep, that pretty much sums up the age.

Today, we’ll bring my mom over to the house for lunch and a movie.

Anyway, happy Mother’s Day to moms of all kinds!


One Year Later – Random Musings

My mom has been here in town for one year and a couple of days now. She moved into the skilled nursing facility a day before her 87th birthday. At the time, I wondered if she’d see another one. Yesterday, we celebrated her 88th. (Lovely coincidence – she and Edward Gorey were born on the same day.)

Over the course of the year, she’s made a couple of friends and seen a few of her neighbors die. The nurses and aides know her routines and needs, and she has learned theirs. I have learned how much you can come to adore someone for taking good care of your mother.

I worry that her money is running out. She’s on the waiting list for a Medicaid bed in her current facility, and it’s a race to see if she gets to the top of the list before she can’t pay any more. I think we have her securely in place for a few more months, at least.

Some days, Mom seems to be doing so well, I think she could soldier on for another three or four years. Other days, I go home convinced she’s down to mere weeks. She’s recently experienced recurring, brief episodes of severe disorientation. But they clear up and she can then describe what happened, e.g. she couldn’t remember how to tell time. They’ve ruled out infection, but we have no real answers about a cause.

I realize most how much her health has deteriorated when I speak with my oldest sister, with whom my mom lived before we brought her to stay near us. My sister remembers Mom with the capabilities she had a year ago, things I’ve forgotten she used to do so recently. I’ve seen Mom two to four times per week, and so the changes have snuck up on me. Mom has lost a lot in the areas of fine motor skills and finger strength. She can no longer button buttons. She has difficulty signing her name sometimes, even (on a birthday card, for example.) She can still move around with a walker, but it’s slower all the time, and she gets winded a lot sooner.

The day before her birthday, a blizzard moved through, leaving us with 11 inches of snow. It was unclear whether we’d be able to get out to see her. But with everyone in the family wielding snow shovels, we managed it to dig out the cars and driveway. We made it to the nursing home in the evening to have cake and punch. Thank goodness the route is all on major roads, so the entire way had been plowed.

Will my mother make it to 89? Who knows? One thing about reaching this stage of life, it helps you focus on the here and now.




Happy Everything



Today, we went to my Mom’s nursing home for a combined celebration of Mother’s Day (my mom and me) and two birthdays (my two kids.) My son is 14 years old today. My daughter will be 17 in two days. Looking for words that would fit on a cake, I settled for “Happy Everything.” And it’s how I feel right now.

Despite the pressures, stress, too-long to-do list, I want to celebrate this time while I have them all here. I see this as a transitional time in my life. Realistically, five years from now, my kids will likely be gone from home and my mom will no longer be living. I hope she will be, but it’s doubtful. Maybe I feel overwhelmed at times with all of their needs, but soon enough I’ll be empty nesting in a big way.

This is the first year in a long time – I can’t remember how long – I’ve been able to spend Mother’s Day with my own mom. And I get to celebrate the presence in my life of two other people I love more than the world.

Happy Everything!