Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Birthday Party Part 1

It was a very long weekend and a very busy birthday party, so it will take me a few posts to share it with you all.

I'll start with the morning of the party. I believe I mentioned previously that Grandma was nervous and excited. The morning of her party she was too nervous to really eat. We let her rest as much as possible, so before we got her in the shower (while my mom was by my uncle) I decided she needed her nails done.
She was laying down but was awake, so I told her we should do her nails. She didn't think we needed to but I told her it was her special day, she needed to look her best. I filed her nails for her and suggested polish. She was hesitant, but after I put a light pink on one nail, she agreed. She loves her nails so much now that she wants to keep them polished all the time.

Everything went really well, we are all ready on time for once. It helped that my uncle (who has MS and is pretty much bedridden) decided not to go to the party that morning. I think it was partly that he was in a lot of pain and partly nerves about being around people he hasn't seen in over a decade.

We got to the restaurant at 4:30 to decorate. The party was to start at 5:00. At 4:35 the first guest arrived. It was one of my cousins, so it was not a big deal. We decorated as quick as we could and put the seating cards out. As soon as we finished that, around 4:45, more guests arrived.

The first of these was some cousins from southern Illinois who had brought my great-aunt to the party. My grandma is the oldest of 5, all are still living. Her sister is 88 and lives in a nursing home. She has Alzheimer's and has not known 6 of her 7 children for a long time.

I mentioned in a previous post that when my cousin showed my great-aunt the invitation, it all clicked and she remembered my grandma. She was told she could go to the party if she ate. She normally doesn't eat much and has been eating 80% of her food so she could come to the party. She also began to know her children. She had been riding up and down the halls of the nursing home in her wheelchair telling everyone she had to eat so she could go to Chicago for her sister's 90th birthday.

When she came in, it was if they were both trying to leap out of their chairs to reach each other. It was truly beautiful. I don't think there were many dry eyes in the house at that moment. They had not seen each other in 12 years. My great-aunt knew my grandma and my mother immediately. I am not sure if she knew who I was, but I told her and kissed her cheek. She smiled and said, "I love you," which she said a lot that day. She only stayed for about 2 hours, but the two sister's never let go of each other.

My grandma kept saying how wonderful it was and thanking us. I told her to just wait, the surprises were just beginning.

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