We took pizza, balloons, a birthday cake, blog posts, cards, Facebook greetings and ourselves over to Grampie's skilled nursing facility this evening. All day long he'd been reminded that it's his birthday, so he was in fine form. The rest of the second floor residents were excited as well--they were getting actual pizza, REAL chocolate cake for dinner. Even the staff felt the party buzz, and wandered down to the dining room when they heard us sing, "Happy Birthday!"
Grampie couldn't get over all the pictures of himself that came with the blog and Facebook posts. He recognized himself as a young man, recognized his 'first wife,' and was glad to have me, 'his publicist,' as he called me, tell the others some of the best stories of his life. It was such a sweet time, and he was so present, so very present with us, laughing and enjoying the food and the company as though we were in the finest restaurant eating far fancier fare.
After the cake was cut and served, Beve took his dad off to the side to call "his bride," and I was helping clean up a bit, when a 40-something woman walked in with her small dog and asked for a piece of cake. "Carry it to my room," she said.
I looked at her, looked down at my cane, and thought of protesting, but picked up the plate and slowly made my way after her.
When we got to her room (much farther than Grampie's room!), she directed me to set the cake on her table. Then she asked, "How are you related to [the birthday boy]?"
"I'm his daughter-in-law," I told her.
"You're [Beve's] wife." I nodded. "Are you separated or something?"
I honestly couldn't even answer I was so surprised.
"Steve's a devoted son. You don't seem to be like that at all."
"I hope you enjoy the cake," I told her.
Here's where I have to tell you that I've been fairly disabled of late. That is, even more disabled than usual. Because of my bad left leg, I carry all my weight on my right foot and have worked very hard never to limp. However, a few weeks ago pain in my right foot made it clear that I've stressed that foot beyond what it can handle. Nothing can be done for my left leg. This is the way of things. So I NEED my right foot to be strong. Until I get my orthotics sorted out, I've barely been walking. Tonight is the first time I've been to Grampie's since I had my neck surgery.
I've been trying to sort out what I might have learned from the encounter with this woman. Sometimes there are just encounters. She made a judgment about me with no facts at all. Knowing nothing. I wonder how often I do that. I'd like to think I don't open my mouth at least. I hope I don't.
In any case, we had a great party with Grampie and that's what counts.