Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Birthday Party at the Skilled Nursing Facility

 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.


Dawn Paoletta said...

Carolyn, I say this with the most grace I can muster in the 30 seconds after absorbing this woman's comment...WHAT? I know she is older, and apparently without her good sense and consideration. It's one of those moments when you want to think of something fresh to say (but I can never do that anymore thank God) yet, know God is listening, watching and waiting and routing for you to be victorious over the flesh...which in my mind would want to actually slap her face. OK, I would never ! BUt it's God in me...lol. No, trying to make light of a very unkind word, and ya know, I can't help but wonder if God will allow another moment, and even a bit more of an open window which might shed light on her misguided perception. Hope you are feeling better and healing...I look forward to seeing you at RJD when you can! Oh, emailing you!

Pamela M. Steiner said...

So glad that God gives grace when things get all mixed up and misconstrued. You are a gracious lady...and obviously that lady was without good sense. I know it's hard to have something like that come along and try to spoil a special day full of good moments and memories. One of those "little foxes" that spoil the vine. (Song of Solomon 2:15) Focus on Grampie's obvious joy of the day...and pray for that sad lady. She apparently doesn't have a good daughter in law like you to love her. I'm so happy to hear how wonderful Grampie's birthday was. What a blessing for all of you!

jeskmom said...

The woman definitely wasn't older than me. I think she's never been married, nor has any family at all. It was a thoughtless thing for her to say, but has made me think of how often I make snap-judgments about people. THAT was the eye-opening part for me. More than what she said was that I can do the same thing. That I do.

Recovering Church Lady said...

I am so sorry about this ugly encounter. You did not deserve her words and your only job is to let it go. Let her pre-judgement slid right off of you because you know better.
I know that awful feeling of injustice because you could not defend yourself while in the moment. Don't let it torment you dear one. Let it go and you will be able to rest easy and know that you are being a wonderful family member in so many ways. Susie