Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patty's Baby: circa 1919

My Grandmother is 90 today!

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:

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.

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."

Ah, we wouldn't do that to her. She got a little help from a few nurses, Mom picked up the last two, and Voila! It was time to cut the cakes. Grandma chose white over chocolate.

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.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!


  1. Happy birthday Grandma!

  2. Happy Birthday to your Gramma..
    All the stories she must have.. and to be able to hear them.

  3. Awesome! Happy Birthday to your granny! I miss mine all the time. How lovely to have a special day like this one!

  4. Shari G2:56 PM

    This story really touched me. My grandma's birthday was St. Patrick's Day also and I miss her every year since she has been gone.

  5. A Grande Dame by all accounts! You can love them when they're gone- but love them while they're here- that way they know it!

  6. Awwww, what a sweetie she is! Happy Birthday to Grandma!

    Love the Brian pic!

  7. What a fun day! Thanks for sharing that. Now I will go to bed with a big smile on my face.

  8. Sounds like a great party with great food (and dessert)! Your grandma looks younger than 90, that's for sure. Nice photo of Brian, too.

  9. The happy birthday message/picture from afar was just fantastic. Great seeing that little technological leap in action. Did you sneak in any green beer? ;)

  10. Thanks for the bday wishes for Grandma, everyone!

    Glock: No green beer here, though I'll admit we went looking for it--can one only find green beer on campus now?! I'm not sure if Grandma had any green beer; she was a Schlitz girl in her day, if I remember right.

  11. What a nice thing to do! Patriarchs and Matriarchs are important to families- glad your Grandmother is still here- and you appreciate her! My one Grampa died before I was born, my other was gone when I was twelve. I miss him every time I think of him...

  12. Happy Belated Birthday to your grandma:) WHOA! 90 years old. You obviously have some GREAT genes in your DNA. ( btw the picture of grandma and you...I dunno what it is...but you're looking younger and younger these days)


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