Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My 85th Birthday

"What do you want to do for your birthday, Mom?"  One or the other of my seven children queried me every day for a week or so.  My mind didn't even want to try to come up with an idea.  At least not until a few days ago.  
"I think I would like an open house where friends and family could drop by.  Nothing fancy, but eighty-five does seem like a nice land-mark number, and I'd like to do something special."
This year my birthday, August 30, came on Sunday.  Saturday was our ward temple night, followed by a ward dinner. That sounded pretty special to me.  When they passed around a clipboard in Relief Society I volunteered to bring dessert.  I was thinking about cookies, but about midweek I decided on a Cosco cake, and ordered one.  Carrot cake with cream cheese icing, a rainbow with puffy clouds and the words, "Happy 85th birthday, Grandma Anna."
The weather on Saturday forgot to cool off, but the air conditioning worked well in my car.  I chose being an initiatory patron at the temple because the blessings given to me, as proxy for each specific deceased woman, are beautiful, and personal.  But then, being in the temple becomes more special to me when I let it.  For me, it's a place of rejuvenation, of feeling close to our Father in Heaven, His Son, Jesus Christ, and our families.
Naturally, when I arrived at the dinner with my cake, they simply had to sing Happy Birthday to me.  Pretty sneaky?  Of course.  But since I'm in my second childhood, I can brag about birthdays like children do, and get away with it.  There's another thing I love about getting old.  I can go help clean up in the kitchen if I want to, but if I don't feel like it, I don't  feel guilty.  The dinner tasted wonderful, the people friendly, and it felt rather like a birthday party.
Next day, since I'm the ward chorister, I had chosen my favorite hymns, and the whole meeting seemed very special.  In Primary the children sang happy birthday to me.  I've been Grandma Friendly for several years, and I also sing with the nursery for a quarter hour each week.  My daughter Kat conducted Primary.  
"Grandma Friendly is having a party tonight.  An open house where you can come with your parents.  It's from six to nine.  She'd love to see you there."
I suspect every child at primary wrote, drew, or scribbled on a sheet from a scrapbook, and we had more ready for guests to write on at our open house.  The turnout amazed me, but I shouldn't have been surprised.  The children insisted on being brought.
One mother told me of her six-year-old son's comment on the way to our place. "I won't get to bed on time tonight.  I have to stay up until nine."
"We are going at six and can be home before bedtime."
"No, we can't.  The party is from six to nine, and this is an important occasion."
I'll have to agree.  I don't know when I've had a better time, though I do know a time or two I've been more exhausted.  Isn't it amazing that our body gets as much stress from happy times as it does from hard work ?    

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