- by Carolyn Lackey
When we celebrated Christmas on June 25th, I was convinced that Meems had talked to God and was planning on taking a little trip to see Him. Turns out, she celebrated Christmas again on December 25th. Today, she turned 92. Truly, a few weeks ago I wasn't sure that she would live to see another birthday.
But, here she is on January 9th in the year 2 thousand and eighteen having yet another birthday.
I ran by this morning to take Meems some birthday morning surprises. Her wheelchair was parked about 12" from the TV in the living area of Aberdeen House. She was slumped over toward the left side of her wheelchair with her chin on her chest completely oblivious to Khloe Kardashian's new show, "Revenge Body" that was going strong on the TV. (I would have given anything to hear 82-year-old Meems snarky comments about Khloe's "big bottom." "Is that supposed to be pretty? I wouldn't ever want MY bottom to be that big! Are you glad that you have a small bottom?")
"Good morning, Mom! Do you know what day it is?!" I sang out.
Slowly she opened her eyes and focused in on the human that had entered her personal space. Her lips curled into a weak smile as she quietly whispered, "What?" Answering questions with whispers is the best possible way to make the journey back to sleep short and sweet.
"Do you know what day it is?!" I repeated boisterously.
Softly she murmured, "My birthday," as her eyelids slid back down like syrup sliding down the side of a bottle of an Aunt Jemima syrup.
"Do you see the pretty flowers I have for you...and the fun birthday balloon?"
Slowly she raised her eyelids about halfway, tilted back her chin, and studied the pot of orchids I placed at her knees and then, her gaze lumbered upwards towards the large mylar birthday balloon that danced overhead.
Silence. Eyes closing. A moment passed. Then, she offered up unsolicited words that brought a huge lump to my throat. A lump formed from all of my pent up I-miss-my-active-Mom-I-miss-my-siblings-please-don't-take-her-today-Lord emotions.
"I'm so glad that I have a daughter." She said it not once, but twice.
We celebrated at Wedgewood South this evening. Alan made his famous White Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Icing for Mom per her request. "That cake your husband makes."
The ladies of Aberdeen House and our Lubbock family sang Happy Birthday to her. Bryce and I blew out her birthday candles. She focused on the candle closest to her, and I do believe that her breath did make the flame quiver a bit.
I asked Meems a few days ago what she wanted for her birthday. She quietly responded, "Money, and lots of it." Alan brought her 10 brand new one dollar bills from the bank. She looks impressed, right? I put it in the new pink purse she requested for Christmas. It now contains 10 crispy bills plus one gently used dollar that Kelly gave her to pacify Meems' need for pocket book money and a pack of Puffs tissues.
Leonard brought a birthday card "for us all to sign." The best part was the front of the envelope with all of her "titles" listed. Ohhhhh. THAT Helen. #citizen
I bid you happy birthday, oh, Helen, Ye Great Citizen of Planet Earth.