Published in the Rains County Leader on February 27, 2018:
Sunday was David’s birthday, and he finally joined me in the 70s. Although I’ve been there since April and have tried to reassure him that it doesn’t hurt when the age-o-meter rolls over, he didn’t seem to look forward to this birthday the way he usually does. However, when I came home from Brookshire’s and waved a package of German’s Sweet Chocolate and another of coconut, he broke into a smile, knowing his birthday cake was on the way.
We don’t make a big deal of birthdays – at least not any more. The first year I celebrated his birthday with him, I took him out to dinner, and he gave me an engagement ring. It was hard to top that, but I sometimes tried to at least come close. One year I gave him an I-Pod, and another year I presented him with a bicycle, but we’ve reached the point in our lives where we have all the electronics we need and there’s no space to store larger toys. So most years I send him an e-card, and if I’m feeling extravagant, I give him a printed one, too. We go out for catfish or Mexican food, or sometimes I make a roast and a big pot of beans at home. And I usually make a German Chocolate Cake. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on January 19, 2016:
Wednesday, January 20 was my Aunt Fay’s 92nd birthday. Anyone who has read much of my writing, especially my book, knows that Aunt Fay is my mother’s younger sister. Since she was married to my dad’s brother, and since we lived within a few miles of them for most of my childhood, she has been a big part of my life. This was especially true after I became a caregiver. I leaned heavily on her experience in caring for her mother and her husband and even more heavily on her strength and her faith. (more…)
Betty Brendle, David’s mother, was born 86 years ago today. Yes, she was born on Halloween, and I’m sure she heard every witch joke ever written and received lots of pumpkin-covered birthday cards during her lifetime. Her children swore that her love of sweeping had something to do with the connection between her birth date and brooms.
Betty passed away in August, but we’re thinking of her today. In fact, we’ve been thinking of her a lot this week. David and I drove over to Louisiana on Sunday, and we’ve spent the week with his sisters, going through the “stuff” that a person accumulates during eight decades of life. Betty was a very organized person, so there’s not a lot of junk to deal with, but there are lots of memories. (more…)
Last year on October 7, I wrote about the day Christian was born. This year, I thought I’d tell you about his first birthday.
We didn’t have a big blowout on his big day–no clowns or ponies or giant mice serving pizza–just four adoring adults celebrating the new life that had come into our family twelve months before. His dad and I drove down to Mom and Dad’s weekend retreat at Cedar Creek Lake for the weekend, and we had a party for five. Instead of a traditional cake, I made cupcakes. I inverted ice cream cones over the batter so the cakes would rise into them. The idea was that the cone would provide a clean and easy way for a one-year-old boy to eat his cake. As you can see, he had other ideas.
His presents were simple ones. He received a couple of toys he could push or pull as he practiced his newly acquired walking skills. He also got a Busy Bath which we put to good use once he was finished smearing cake and frosting all over himself.
Christian, even though their memories of you got lost in the dementia,Mom and Dad adored you to the end. As for me, I still consider being you mom as one of the greatest blessings of my life.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos
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…like somethin’ from the oven. That’s the relationship advice we heard from the Pillsbury Doughboy, aka Poppin’ Fresh, beginning in the mid-60s. If you love someone, show them by baking something nice and fattening. That’s what I’m doing today. It’s David’s birthday, and I just put a three-layer German chocolate cake in the oven. It’s his absolute favorite cake of all time. (more…)