We surprised her on Sunday with a birthday party. Kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. She was a bit overwhelmed at first, thinking she was heading to the cafeteria, then to suddenly find herself being wheeled into the "party room."
The women in my family are nothing if not resilient, and she adjusted to the situation soon enough:
A little levity in the room a few minutes later, though, when she told us, after 3 attempts at blowing out the candles, "I think these are the kind of candles that don't blow out."
We carried out a feast from Carlo's, our favorite Kankakee diner. Grandma loves the hoagies, and we had those, along with burgers, italian beef sandwiches, and mountains of french fries. If that wasn't enough, we had two cakes to cut into after lunch.
There was a moment, before she blew out candles, that she became speechless. She was so happy, she said, that everyone was there, that she thought she might cry. And she did. She fell apart, and a few of us in the room did also, right along with her.
She opened cards and unwrapped a few gifts, saying "Thank you, whoever," whenever she was unsure of what came from whom.
Brian couldn't get away, but as luck would have it, his girlfriend Courtney is visiting him during spring break. She arrived in Georgia on Saturday evening, and they set about the mission I'd assigned them:
They e-mailed it to me, and I printed it and took it with us. Grandma loved it:
Mom & Grandma back in the room, post-party:
Me and Grandma, smiling at a different camera than the one this was taken with:
The courtyard at the nursing home is filling up with spring babies. We'd seen a black squirrel earlier, and Grandma had commented on the ducklings she watches. When I entered her room, she asked me "did you see my little white bunny?" My instinct was to cross the room and look for a nest or something outside of window, when cousin Gina wound up this toy and let it buzz across the room:
It was, as days with Grandma always are, a day full of laughter. Grandma still tells it like it is, and keeps us in stitches. When my niece Brandi gave her a hug, Grandma reminded her, "You do know I'm your GREAT Grandma, don't you?" Brandi knew, and we teased Grandma at her reminding, interchanging "Grandma" or "Great Grandma" for the day, until she said "I'm never going to live that down, am I?"
As always, I wish I'd taken notes; she makes us laugh so, and I wish to remember it at the end of the day. I know that I feel incredibly blessed to be celebrating my Grandmother's 90th birthday with her.