This is Lisa and today is my birthday. I mention that only because it’s the event that the day revolved around for Mom, Pop and I. Before I go on, a medical update: Pop’s stool sample is still pending. The results should be back by Monday or Tuesday. He ate a normal breakfast and lunch today and is taking in fluids. This is all good.
Fred is working near Boston this weekend and Mom couldn’t stand the thought of me being alone all day, so weeks ago she said that she and Pop would like to take me to out to lunch at a restaurant of my choosing. I picked Olive Garden – a favorite of everyone’s – and the plan was set.
If you’ve read recent posts, you know that Pop has been quite under the weather the past few days (fever, confusion, more “poop” episodes, etc.). I knew he’d had an especially hard day yesterday, as Mom called me last night asking me to pray that he wouldn’t have any “incidents” while she and I were at lunch. He’d had five or six by the time she called me. I prayed, she prayed, another close friend prayed…God had no doubt what the biggest request of the day was.
I arrived at Piedmont Place around 2:00 not really knowing what to expect, and went to Pop’s room. There he was, sitting up in his chair with his Ridgewood sweatshirt on, waiting, along with Mom, for me to get there and open the card they had for me. He greeted me with a wave, a big smile and hello, and I gave him my customary kiss on the cheek. After a big hug, “Happy Birthday” and “I love you” from Mom, I sat on the bed and she handed me the card. I opened it to find a very generous gift, looked at Mom and said, “This is quite a Happy Birthday!” She pointed at Pop and said, “He wrote it!”. I looked at him, he looked down, shook his head and said, “Yeah, I must have lost my mind for a moment.” This from a man who’d just made it through a day from hell. I so appreciated the gift, but the fact that he’d made the effort to participate in my day – being up & dressed, writing the check – that’s an even bigger gift to me. That and the fact that he only had one small “incident” just before we got back from lunch.
He was curled up in bed, resting, when we got back, looking rather small and vulnerable, his head resting on his folded hands. He didn’t make a move to get up, but wanted to know how lunch was. I presented him with an impressively wrapped Olive Garden breadstick and asked if he thought he would eat it. It took him a second to realize what it was, then he chuckled and said “maybe later”, and motioned with his eyes for me to put it on the bedside table. I think he appreciated the gesture.
As far as the actual lunch, it was wonderful from start to finish. We got a parking place up front, went in, gave the hostess our name, went to the restroom, came out and were immediately escorted to a table. We had a very sweet waitress who gave us just enough attention to make us feel special but not smothered. She got a good tip. We had breadsticks, salad, entrees (the remains of which are in my fridge), coffee and a birthday cake (the remains of which are in my freezer). It was, of course, accompanied by a loud and raucous song by the waitstaff and had a lit, pink candle on top – a perfect choice since pink is my signature color! I felt very celebrated, which made Mom very happy. As we left, I told her that my mother was looking down from Heaven saying, “Thank you for taking my girl out today”. I’m not sure of the theology of that, but Mom squeezed my hand and said, “She’s smiling down at you”. It was a sweet moment.