Birthday Girl

Mom turned 72 today. Unlike Mother’s Day, a conceptual idea that is hard to explain to Mom, she understands the birthday. Sort of. So I wanted to do something to make her feel special.

Pretty cupcakes for our small party for Mom.

Pretty cupcakes for our small party for Mom.

Last year, we took her to dinner and Patrick met us there with balloons and gifts. This year, we settled on lunch. Mom takes meds at dinner that make her sleepy, so I never take her out late in the day anymore. I wanted to work out in the morning, but I also wanted to get Mom a couple of gifts. Patrick volunteered to take care of that task. And I was grateful both for the time it saved me and because he is so excellent at gift selection. He’s a thoughtful fellow. I wanted to get her at least one balloon and a teddy bear, as well as some chocolate candy. I was looking at Web sites yesterday for gift ideas for Alzheimer’s patients and saw references to stuffed animals and even baby dolls. I have read before that patients can enjoy stuffed animals. I am saving the baby doll for Mom’s move to the nursing home, when the cat moves in with us. In the cat’s absence, I want Mom to have a “being” to use to communicate and to have something upon which she can shower affection. I read a couple of sites that said patients both enjoy the companionship and cuddle factor of baby dolls, and also, as their communication skills disappear, they can use the baby to demonstrate a need that really applies to them.

Patrick went off to shop while I went to Mom’s to pick her up. Of course, I ran late and she was eating her soup in the dining room already when I got there. I just retrieved her immediately from the dining room. I said, “It’s your birthday,” and she said, “I know.” Her friend and former neighbor, Nancy, came to visit her this morning. Nancy’s birthday is also June 6. She and Mom bonded in the apartment building they lived in for about eight years. They both loved cats and they were both single women living alone in a somewhat shoddy old building. Nancy was very good to Mom as it became apparent she was getting sicker. I didn’t know she still kept in touch. She brought Mom a card, and a wooden wall hanging of a bunch of kitties in a row, and some flowers. I’m going to send her a card of thanks and to acknowledge her birthday.

I wanted to change Mom’s outfit, which she had now had on since Tuesday. On top of the Buckeye T-shirt and gray fleece pants, she was wearing a red fleece jacket. I stripped her of everything, underwear included, and even socks. I put on light blue pants, her pink striped T-shirt, a pink blouse and blue socks. I combed her hair and put deodorant on her underarms. Her armpits were a little bit smelly. I also fed the cat. He was lying on the couch today – he was there when I arrived and still there when I returned two hours later. He is still not eating much. Mom and I went off to Bob Evans and met Patrick there. We ate fairly quietly, all opting for eggs at lunchtime. I had previously thought we might want to just have a ltitle party for Mom at the picnic table outside her facility, but I had changed my mind in the meantime because I wanted to go someplace where we could walk a little and wear Mom out. We decided on Whetstone Park. Patrick went ahead to set things up.

As I drove Mom through the neighborhood near the park, she said it looked familiar. She often says things do not look familiar, so this was interesting. I told her I was sure she had been on these roads before, but not for a long time. When we got to the park, Patrick had set up some flowers and a balloon on a picnic table for us.

Patrick waits for his girls to arrive.

Patrick waits for his girls to arrive.

We sat down and Patrick lit candles on a four-pack of cupcakes he had bought for the occasion. They had hilariously bright icing on them. Very cheerful. We told Mom to blow out the candles. At first, she wasn’t sure what we meant. But she got the hang of it, with a tiny bit of assistance from me.

Mom blows out three candles, and I blow out the last one. Since she missed on, Patrick joked: 'You're going to have a baby!'

Mom blows out three candles, and I blow out the last one. Since she missed one, Patrick joked: 'You're going to have a baby!'

Patrick then advised Mom to reach into a giant birthday gift bag for her presents. She pulled out a box of chocolates, a stuffed dog toy and a visor, which he put on her head. She seemed a little flat. She wasn’t sad or anything, but she wasn’t really full of pep about this, either. She did say thank you for the gifts. She said to the stuffed dog, “How are you today?” I was glad to see that. She picked out a cupcake, the one with the yellow frosting (her favorite color), but she didn’t eat it because she was full. I suggested we take a walk. Patrick stayed behind to watch our things. We walked about, maybe, 50 yards on the bike path, and Mom asked to turn around. “I’m not in good shape,” she said. We decided to call it a day and I took her back to her apartment. An arrangement of orange flowers arrived from my sister and a plant surrounded by flowers arrived from my brother about 5 minutes apart. I told Mom she was very popular. I clipped her fingernails, and we agreed it was time for a nap. But she walked me to the lobby, where she then sat down to talk to her friends. An aide was walking out to her car when I was, and she said she often talks to my mom, which I appreciate. She said, “I know someday I’ll be there, so I never get mad at any of them.” She is right about that. It’s no use getting mad, and it’s not fair. None of this is Mom’s fault. But today, she seemed quite good. She was in happy spirits and even though she was not full of enthusiasm, she was not down, either. She was happy to have an outing. When I told her she was 72, she said, “How do I look?” I said not a day over 65. Couldn’t think of anything else witty to say. She still looks cute to me. When I left, I said, “Happy birthday,” and she said, “Happy birthday to you, too.”

Darling Bonnie with her visor, stuffed dog and yellow cupcake.

Darling Bonnie with her visor, stuffed dog and yellow cupcake.

4 comments so far

  1. Twitted by jo_allan25 on

    […] This post was Twitted by jo_allan25 – […]

  2. Karin on

    I’m so glad you’re including pictures now. It’s so nice to see you and Patrick and your mom. She does look very cute!

  3. Gemma on

    Love the pink outfit. The day sounds like it was lovely for your mom, and even for you and Patrick.

  4. Laura on

    You and Patrick gave Mom a great birthday. I love the photos. Thank you so much!

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