For my dad’s 80th birthday, my sister and I planned a lunch in their home at the retirement community. Balloons, party decorations, catered lunch, cake, friends, family, presents – it’s a big milestone.
It’s hard to get gifts for your parents. This year, however, was easy. The whole family was in town for Christmas and we had a family portrait done. As I was wrapping the photograph, I wondered if they would remember getting the picture taken. Getting 14 people to a photo shoot was a whole event in itself. In the first days after, they kept asking to see the proofs and we spent some time looking through all the images and picking their favorite.
My parents fiercely want to maintain their independence and live between two homes now. The fact that neither of them has any short-term memory is frightening and we are concerned for their safety and welfare. Pointing this fact out just causes a fight (read almost any of my previous posts). When my dad opens the first picture he smiles. It’s him and my mom with their four grandkids. It’s a nice photograph. He turns it around and goes through the names to show all of the guests his present. He then opens up the whole family portrait. My mom first asks when the picture was taken. Neither of them remembers and they start trying to piece it together.
For now, I’m happy to know my dad still recognizes all the names of the grandkids. Comforted.