Writing 101: Day 10 – Update over a cup of coffee
…it would have likely been my first cup this year. While I’m not a “coffee-hater,” I’m not a “coffee-lover” either. I generally have one or two cups a year when there’s nothing else to drink, or I just feel like it. Thanks to my Gram’s influence, I prefer a nice cup of hot tea.
So, let me tell you about the great week I had.
I just got back to work from a “staycation.” Hubby and I took the week off primarily to celebrate his aunt’s 95th birthday. The family came in from all over the country – Nevada, Florida, Virginia (we live in New York) – to visit for the week and surprise Aunt Lorraine.
She was definitely surprised. And so were they.
One by one, each of her four children entered through the back door of her home (she still lives alone in the home she shared with her husband for 60+ years.) They snuck through the kitchen and around the corner with outstretched arms to surprise their mom. Like so many times before, they expected a squeal of delight and a barrage of hugs and kisses.
This time was different.
Lorraine was a day short of 95 and her typical excitement at seeing her children was replaced with confusion and a little panic. Then, as the strangers poured in one by one, Lorraine didn’t see them as the familiar faces of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she only became more and more disoriented and frightened. As the group grew larger, the room became louder and Lorraine became quieter.
Things got better.
After a couple of hours of catching up and realizing that the influx of bodies was just too much, everyone disbursed to their respective hotels to let Lorraine rest. With a good night’s sleep, she was a little more prepared for the day ahead.
95! Wow – can you imagine waking up and realizing that you’ve lived for nearly a century?
The family arranged for a BIG birthday bash at a local recreation center. It actually was perfect! The log cabin-style lodge was located out in the country with a picturesque water-lily pond, walking trails through a densely forested area, a playground for the kids and lots of open space. That meant everyone could spread out and yet still be part of the special event.
As we all approached Lorraine to wish her a “Happy Birthday,” she was less stressed and recognized most everyone. It’s so nice to be remembered as “one of the family.” As is typical with the elderly, the mind is very selective about what it recalls. Often it’s easier to reminisce about memories from your youth than from five minutes ago. Lorraine is no different, so we chatted about making chocolate novelties for Easter as if it were yesterday instead of 20 years ago. She laughed and cried and had an amazing time.
The day was wonderfully casual and filled with endless photo ops. As my husband and I watched the immediate family pose for one more keepsake of the occasion, it struck us that Lorraine had made a powerful contribution to this world. There stood 25 smiling children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that were all there because she opened her heart to love all those years ago. It might have been her birthday, and to an outsider, she was the one receiving all the gifts. But we knew she had supplied all the gifts that day, and they were standing right in front of us – our family.
Thank you, Aunt Lorraine – it’s just what we needed.