My 91st birthday is coming up this June 15. Imagine. I’ll be 91 years old. Holy smokes. I really never thought I’d outlive my Dad who made it to his 82nd year. It looks like to celebrate I’ll be hosting some friends and family for a small open-house with my daughter and also taking another flight out of the Oro Airport with my son.
I live on my own. But I am never alone. With the help of my 8 care-givers, who I like to refer to as my “angels”, I live like a King.
Diane is my longest-standing employee. She is always smiling and always busy working. She makes me “healthy” foods and is a strong advocate of diet and exercise. She makes me do “Zumba” when she comes in addition to getting me to walk when I can and to drink lots of water (which I hate – I much prefer wine!) Diane stays with me overnight during week-ends and we enjoy talking to each other. For my 90th birthday she gave me a copy of my favorite book, “Who Has Seen the Wind”, by W O Mitchell. The book is wonderful in that it reflects on the cycle of life and death through the eyes of a boy growing up in the Prairies. “Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I. But when the trees bow down their heads, we know it passes by.”
Tessie – we refer to her as Mother Tessie – is our matriarch of the girls from the Philippines. Tessie and Diane both worked here when Paula was alive and so they know what a task master my wife was. Everything had to be “just so” – and cooked “just right”. Tessie is still very loyal to Paula and feels strongly that Paula still tells her what to do and how to do it. Tessie helped Stacey arrange my care when Paula passed away so quickly. Tessie’s line then as it is now was, “Don’t worry”. “Everything will be alright – the Lord provides”. And so – the only thing I do worry about is that Tessie works too hard. We love Tessie very much too and always teach her about her accent. When people leave I have a favorite expression, “Ta-ta- for – now” or “TTFN”. Tessie thought it was “Tuc – Tuc- for Now” – we all chuckle and have adopted this new expression when we want to get her goat.
Heather has known me the longest of all. Every Thursday she gets me up and ready and sits me down to a game of cribbage hoping that I don’t skunk her too badly (grin). I’m just teasing as I think we are pretty well matched. The cards, these days, though are very well worn. Maybe I’ll get a new deck for my birthday? (grin) Heather is kind and caring. She always makes me laugh. Her dog has become my dog in that I know him so well from her stories about him. I look forward to Thursdays and to Heather’s visits. Did I mention I skunk her at cribbage? (grin again)
Adrienne is another long-standing care-giver. She and Heather both knew Paula too and they knew that things had to be “just so”. Adrienne keeps me organized. It’s time to get up – or time for pills – or time for something or other. Lately, I must admit she has been more flexible with me as I’ve been so tired. It was hers and my little secret last year that I had an “episode” (I have fainting spells) just before I went up flying with Jamie. I knew if Adrienne told Stacey, Stacey would worry and wouldn’t want me to go – Adrienne gives me the grace of allowing me to make my own decisions. So does Stacey – but I hate to worry her.
The others include my two nannies (and my daughter) – but those… are for another post. And that one I’ll call, “The Dancing Nannies”.
I am looking forward to my birthday only in as much that others are so excited about the celebration. I think birthdays these days are not as much for the birth-person as much as they are for those who wish to give the gift of “well-wishes”. And so – in anticipation of ice-cream cake and well-wishes – I close this post.