Forget whatever gifts you got, I got, your mom got, your dog got and so on. My grandmother wins the Christmas sweepstakes hands down with one of the more remarkable gifts anyone could ever hope to receive: her ninetieth birthday. You read that right: ninetieth. Nine-Zero. 90. Kind of makes whatever impressive gizmo you may have received the other day seem sort of underwhelming, at least for a moment or two, does it not?
It does, especially when you consider this: my grandmother is not the sort of woman who barely limped through yet another year of decline. She is the kind of elderly woman who can refer to her contemporaries as "old ladies", complain about the fact that none of them do anything quickly enough for her, and get away with it. Left to your own observations and quizzed, you'd probably be stunned to learn that she is a day over seventy or so. She is spry and savvy. For all I know, that computer in her bedroom lands on Turned on Its Ear from time to time. She has become old in that manner which we all aspire to, once we're done with the young-pretty-beautiful-corpse segment of our lives.
A couple of days ago in this post, I alluded to some misgivings I had about traveling a good ninety minutes north with Rhea and my mother for her birthday party yesterday. I could not have been more wrong about them: while there is an unsavory aspect to my extended family, I'm delighted to report that all the nasty people stayed home. Without their negativity to burden the proceedings, a true celebration was had: good food! Cake! Relatives that I actually wish I got to see more! A band playing standards fronted by a blind man whom I truly believe to be the Richard Cheese of the geriatric set! I am fully aware, dear readers, that you will want some proof - or at least some more details - regarding that last one. Really, you just had to be there, and will have to take myself and/or Rhea at our word.
In fact, you may just have to take me at my word about the whole thing, as my heart is so full with happiness and admiration for my grandmother that no amount of stilted, belabored prose can really do it fair justice. Simply making it to ninety years old is a combination of genetics and luck. Truly living to, and past, that age is a decision that one makes every day when they wake up again. It is a gift, as I said at the beginning of this post, but it is one that can't simply be handed out. Its recipient has to truly want it, and be willing to maintain it on a daily basis. That can be a daunting task for folks my age, let alone nonagenarians.
I'll get back to being snarky tomorrow. Today, it's all about admiration and acknowledgement of the gift that's been given to my grandmother - and, by extension, me and mine.