Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The first of several 95th birthday parties

My sister and I took Mom out for her 95th birthday on Monday night. We went to a restaurant the three of us always go to - the owners, Frank and Nula, know us well. Dinner went well. We gave Mom some flowers and had the gifts of clothing waiting.

Frank came to the table and gave Mom a bottle of Baileys liqueur for her birthday. Mom did not seem to understand what it was. She fumbled around trying to figure out what to say.

"Mom, why don't you thank Frank for the Baileys?" I prompted.
"What bottle of Baileys?"
"This one right here. Frank just gave it to you for your birthday."
"Oh, did he give me a bottle of Baileys?"
By this time Frank had vanished to seat another table.
A short time later Nula came to the table to wish Mom a happy birthday.
"Hello, Nula, dear," Mom says
"I wanted to say happy birthday to you," said Nula.
"Oh yes, I'm 95 you know."
Again I prompted, "Mom, maybe you should thank Nula for the bottle of Baileys. It's from her, too."
"What bottle of Baileys?"
At this point Nula said she had to get back to work and we said our goodbyes.
"Thank you for coming," Mom said, as if she was having a party and Nula had come to her party.
I smile when I think of it.

Every night when I let me dog out for the last time of the day, I watch the ants from the colony that lives, apparently, on our roof. The busy worker ants walk up and down the brickwork on a particular trail and I watch dozens of them touching each other's antennae as they pass on their familiar route. I enjoy them.

A couple of days ago, downstairs business owners sprayed the back wall of the building to try to get rid of the ants. I went outside, heard the sprayer and smelled the poison. I'm sorry, I felt a bit sad for my evening friends. Get over it, I said to myself, they are just ants.

Last night when I took the dog out, I watched as one lone ant wandered, confused,alone up the brickwork, trying to find the trail that was so familiar to the ants. It would stop, feel with it's antennae, trying to find the pheromone trail left by former ants. It passed another lone ant going down the brickwork, they touched antennae and both of them wandered off.

I couldn't help comparing them to the workings in Mom's brain. Her thoughts used to tumble over themselves as if following a pheromone path, touching each other, finding humour in the trails her thoughts wandered. She found food everywhere she went - she passed it on, she fed my soul with her laughter.

Now her thoughts wander like these poor poisoned ants. Sometimes she will find something familiar and follow that path for a while but she then staggers off into unfamiliar territory again. I'll keep an eye on my ant colony - I'm really cheering for them and I hope it's not too late.

Today when I see Mom and take her for a surprise lunch with a few friends to celebrate her birthday, I'm cheering for her, too. I'm hoping her little colony of thoughts and ideas find a familiar path to follow so that she can enjoy herself. And feel fulfilled and loved.

That's all for now. Must get ready for the day.

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