My mother was tickled when she turned 91 last year because it meant that she could start telling everybody she would be 92 on her next birthday. She loves doing that because nobody ever believes she's that old and it is a great ego-booster when people look shock and express disbelief.
During the celebration of her 92nd birthday last night she was tickled because now she can tell everybody that she will be 93 on her next birthday! This is a lady who has never lied about her age and wears every grey hair and wrinkle proudly.
So yeah, it was the New Cousins Day, only 3 of us now, still ready to enjoy each other. But Kathy's absence was felt keenly and tears were shed. And when we did our usual "toast" picture, it was with Kathy in mind. We will print and frame this picture to take to her at the care facility.
Bob had driven Peach to my house and we loaded up the car with all the food and stuff to take to my mother's.
In addition to gifts and those bright happy looking sunflowers, we had also brought about 20 jigsaw puzzles. My mother and Kathy are both avid puzzle workers and one of the things that always happened at some point during Cousins Day was Kathy disappearing into the family room to work a puzzle.
Often, when she couldn't sleep at night,she would spend the whole night hunched over whatever puzzle my mother was working at the time. If my mother had just finished a puzzle, she would start another one before we got to her house, just so Kath would have something to work on.
So it was kind of sad when Kath's husband gave Peach all of Kathy's puzzles to bring down to my mother, who will work each one and then take them down to the Hospice thrift store where she volunteers, to resell. Since Kathy sometimes took puzzles home with her that my mother already worked, it's entirely possible that some of the 20 we brought were given to her by my mother already!
After lunch, we had a job to do before we could start playing cards. My mother's doctor had called to chide her for not getting her lab tests done. I thought we had everything done, but apparently there were more, so we went off to the lab....only the doctor hadn't told her she should be fasting, so they couldn't do everything, but did what they could.
Then we went back to the house and the games began.
We had a situation arise that in 4 years of playing has never happened before. At the end of one game the three of us were tied.
We decided to play the last hand again and it took us four tries before we finally found a winner! [LATER: I didn't discover until this very minute that the first column was added wrong--it should be 67, not 77. Owell!]
We did "birthday." Peach had cross stitched a bookmark for her and I had found an edible bird house, which I hope will be a success, since she love watching the birds feeding on her front porch.
During cocktails and dinner she answered one phone call after another from well wishers from my kids (including Brianna, who sang "happy birthday" to her) to Walt's sister to friends. This is one loved lady.
After dinner there was a small cake. I had forgotten to bring candles and my mother didn't have any, so we improvised and found a candle anyway.
This morning we took her back to Kaiser to get the fasting blood work done, then had a fabulous breakfast at Panera, and then went back home again to play 2 more games of 65. My mother and I tied in the last game, so we split the pot.
I'll tell ya, it was very sad that Kathy wasn't there, but maybe because she wasn't we really worked hard on having a good time. I can't remember the last time we laughed as much. My mother said over and over again that we made this a beautiful birthday for her. She's already planning another big celebration for her 95th. I'd better start saving my pennies now.One thing really good about this Cousins Day is that I just read what I wrote a year ago today, "And So It Begins." This entry caused a lot of controversy with one cousin I don't know very well. But I read it today and realize how much better my mother is today than she was a year ago. This memory thing, I'm discovering waxes and wanes significantly. She beat the pants off of Peach in Canasta recently, where a few months back when I tried to play with her she couldn't remember a thing about the game. So if anything, it's really comforting to discover that she is no worse today than she was a year ago, and today, September 8, 2011, she is significantly better than she was on this day a year ago. Will she be better tomorrow? Will she be worse tomorrow? Who knows. But at least this is not a steady decline. It zigs and zags. And that is nice to know.