Today is my mom's birthday. She called me late Sunday evening asking if I could bring a cake in to the assisted living where she resides so that she could share her birthday with her friends. it was about this time last year that she relocated to Columbus, leaving her town, her friends, and her home of almost 50 years. It took about 8 months for her to stop calling herself an "inmate" and now when we chat she only asks to visit her home every so often instead of every single time we talk. Still, this is quite a leap for Mom, wanting to share birthday cake with her fellow "inmates".
I took the cake in while Mom and her friends were eating lunch. Knowing I was there Mom ate quickly and joined me in the pub. We sat at a cafe table, the birthday cake sitting between us, and made small talk while we waited for everyone else to finish eating. I always seem to be making small talk with my mom. Truth be told, we really don't have that much to say to each other. "The cake is beautiful, where did you get it?" "Giant Eagle." "Oh, that's nice. How is Katie?" "Well, I guess she is ok. She and Debbie will be coming down Sunday to visit." (Mom pauses as she processes this- it is clear she thought Katie belonged to me and not my sister.) "So, where did the cake come from?" "Giant Eagle, Mom." "Well, it sure is beautiful. When did you say Debbie was coming to visit?" "Sunday, Mom." "I might not be free." "You have plans Sunday?" "No, but I might. Will Debbie and Katie be there?" "Yes, Mom. They will be there." sigh.
Finally her assisted living peeps showed up and the cake show was underway. My mom was dressed really nice, I noticed as I served the cake. She usually looks nice, but it was obvious that she felt today was special and spruced up a tad more than usual. I watched her sit in the wrought iron chair like a queen, receiving birthday greetings from all these people that I don't know but with whom my mother seems to have formed strong relationships. And she was beaming. Just as I was packing the remaining few pieces of cake back into the box to take to the associate break room an older gentleman rolled into the room in a motorized scooter. He was dressed as though he was heading to work in a bank in 1952 - dark, creased dress pants, button down dress shirt, gray vest with gold buttons. I watched in amazement as he drove right up to my mother, took her hand, kissed it, and said "My dear Patty, what a beautiful day for a beautiful lady." What?
He then went on to explain to me, a mortified daughter holding a cake serve and contemplating shoving it through my forehead, that he remembers seeing Mom the day he moved in to the assisted living, and he knew he was in heaven. Oh. My. God.
Taking this cake to my mom right in the middle of the day when I had a hundred others things to do was not exactly what I had planned for today. But I have to say that I genuinely enjoyed hanging out with those seniors today. It was a typical day in an assisted living community - a few of the ladies fought over who sat in which chair, a sweet couple sat off to themselves, the wife helping her husband eat his chocolate cake. The diabetic resident asked for a "tiny" piece of cake, which wouldn't have been a problem except she asked for that "tiny" piece three times. And the Casanova. Yes, I have seen it all before. But never in my wildest dreams did I think that Casanova would have set his sights on my mother!