Making Do

Like so many things this year, the big party we were planning to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday was cancelled.  Turning ninety is sort of a big deal, so we had hoped to rent a venue and invite extended family and all of Mom’s friends to stop by for cake, drinks and snacks.  Initially, Mom had told us there was no need to make such a fuss, but as the lock-down wore on and we had to cancel family gathering after family gathering, she began to really look forward to her big party.  It was going to be her chance to finally see everyone again, altogether in the same place.

When it became apparent that the virus wasn’t going to cooperate with our original plans, we told Mom that we were going to have to put off the big party for a while longer, but that we would have a small dinner gathering for our immediate family instead.  Since some of our immediate family lives out-of-state, my sister volunteered to host it in her yard so we could all stay outside and socially distance.  Everything was fine until we saw the weather forecast for the day of the party:  98 degrees with a heat index of  at least 105.  We waited as long as possible, hoping that the forecast would change, but it didn’t.  And since there is no way it would be safe for Mom to be out in that kind of heat for any length of time, we had to cancel again.

My Mom told us she understood, and I knew that she did.  But I also knew how deeply disappointed she was, and I didn’t blame her one bit.  So my husband and I talked it over and came up with an alternative plan:  we would have Mom over to our yard early in the morning for breakfast and include only our kids and grandchildren.  It wasn’t anywhere close to the celebration we had promised her, but it was the best we could do in the circumstances.  I only hoped it would be enough.

IMG_6723And you know what?  It was enough.  We loaded the patio table with breakfast food and drinks, hooked up some fans to keep it as cool as possible, and filled the wading pool for our grandson to play in.  Our newborn granddaughter even joined us outside for a little while before going into back into air-conditioned house for her morning nap.  Mom opened her gifts, we all enjoyed each other’s company, and we finished before the temperature became unbearably hot.

fullsizeoutput_5bb8Someday, we will throw Mom the big birthday celebration we had originally planned, even if it ends up being for her 91st birthday instead.  But I’m so glad that we had our small get-together in honor of her 90th birthday, and that Mom got to celebrate with at least some of her family.  In these times when so many plans have been cancelled, I think it’s important to be as flexible as we possibly can and to adapt our plans to fit the circumstances.  As my grandmother used to tell me, “Sometimes it’s best to just make do with what you have, and be grateful for it.”  Wise words for sure….

116 thoughts on “Making Do

  1. Your mom looks stunning, especially for a 90-year-old! I’m glad you decided to host a breakfast birthday party for her — what a neat idea! We’re all muddling through this as best as we can. Nothing is the way we envisioned, is it? Still, you’re blessed to have your mom close and still here — and now, you all have something to look forward to later on!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Debbie! I’ll tell her you said so, it will make her day! Yes, we are all just muddling through this as best we can, doing the best with what we have. I am so glad Mom is close by, especially at this stage of her life. And you’re right, her party is still something to look forward to. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful and perfect celebration. Happy 90th to your mom. With so many elderly in isolation at this time due to COVID it’s been particularly challenging times for them. My mom is 84 and lives in a senior facility where residents are not even allowed to visit their family at all – unless they want to go into quarantine for two weeks afterwards. My mom was just telling me on the phone how hard it is to be so socially isolated and especially for those who have no family to visit.

    What a blessing for your mom to be in such good health and for the ability of all of you to be together for this celebration.

    As you wrote, being flexible and adaptable is key.

    Happy birthday to your mom.

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Peta! We are very lucky to be able to see Mom during this time. We can’t go into her building, but she can come out and see us now, which is so good for her spirits. You’re right, these lock downs have been especially hard on seniors, and even worse for those who live alone. It’s not easy to keep them safe physically and also meet their emotional needs.

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  3. First of all your mom looks terrific! I can’t believe she’s 90. I’d like a little of what she’s been drinking..:) I think what you did was perfect, especially in these times. You followed her words perfectly. See…it always pays to listen to mom..:) God Bless her heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, George! Mom is always saying that she thinks she looks so old, but honestly, I don’t think she looks her age at all, and she is still in very good health. I was so glad we were able to figure out a way to celebrate her birthday safely during the pandemic and heat wave. I think it made it easier for her to wait for the day when we can have a big, indoor party for her!

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  4. Your mother’s one of the lucky ones, in a way. So many elderly are completely isolated in facilities that don’t allow their residents out or visitors in — it’s wonderful that you were creative enough to give her a “little celebration” to keep her until all of the family can be together again. I’m sure that time will come — and perhaps even sooner than we think. Tell her that a lot of us out here in your blogworld are wishing her the best, and looking forward to her “real” birthday party!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words….I’ll pass them along! And yes, she really is one of the lucky seniors. So many are completely isolated and suffering from depression as a result. Her home is only Independent Living, so they have been allowing me to take her supplies all along, as long as I meet her outside and we wear masks. Then about a month ago, they started allowing her to leave the premises and come back, so she is now able to get out a little bit. But due to her age, she still mostly stays home, as she definitely in the “at risk” category. I still don’t go inside her building or apartment though. And I can’t wait until this is all over and we can all get together again!!! May it be sooner rather than later!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ally! I have a feeling there will be a lot of “off-year” celebrations when this is finally over. The animal shelter where I volunteer was planning a big 100-year anniversary party this Fall. It has been rescheduled for Fall 2021, and will be called “100 Years and Counting.” We’re all just getting a bit creative!

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  5. It’s become about the little things, hasn’t it? How wonderful that your mom could enjoy her day surrounded by those she loves. Happy Birthday to her and can I just mention how youthful she looks for a lady of 90!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jodi! And you’re right, it’s all we can do. I’m grateful we get to spend time with her, as I know so many seniors are living in isolation right now, and that’s so hard on them and their loved ones.

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  6. Happy 90th to Ann’s Mum!

    Bet it was more precious with a valuable few, often the sheer volume of those family gatherings mean there is not enough quality time with each other … this way she had quality time with your family 🙂

    Breakfast on the lawn sounds like it could become a new family tradition!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kate! It really did work well, and it might very well be a new family tradition. I agree that it’s so much easier to really talk to people in smaller groups, too. In large groups, I always worry that I’m ignoring someone, and invariably there are those I don’t get a chance to talk to at all.

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      • exactly, you can only ever really catch up with some and if you are hosting that becomes even more tricky as you have to ensure refreshments are being distributed … I’m all for satellite group events for big occasions!

        My poor brother did his big O birthday in a quarantine motel …

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  7. Heartwarming post Ann, in fact I have tears in my eyes as I read this. My mum would have been 92 this year, close to this time too. I’m so glad you got to spend this time with her and I bet she absolutely loved spending time with her family. Very special. And she looks amazing! Good on you for persevering and being so flexible. It’s so important in these challenging times isn’t it. Sending hugs and love. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad it spoke to you, Miriam, and I’m so very sorry for your loss. Losing a mother is really one of the hardest things in life, I think, especially if you were close and I know you were close to your mom. I am very lucky to still have my mother nearby, and to be able to see her in person during this pandemic. Someday, we will have that big party for her. Until then, we just do our best to keep her happy and count ourselves lucky to have her with us.

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      • Thanks Ann, I do miss my mum but I also know how blessed and fortunate I was. Yes, no doubt someday you’ll have that big party with your beautiful mum and I’m sure that in the meantime you appreciate all your moments with her. Stay well, happy and healthy my friend. xxxx

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    • Thank you so much! It really did work out well. If we had had the big party, or even the family gathering with out-of-town relatives at my sister’s house, my newborn granddaughter could not have been there. But with just us, outside, my son and his wife felt it was safe to bring their baby. So that was a gift, and my Mom loved having her great-granddaughter there to help her celebrate. We all had a good time, being family together. And really, that’s what’s life is all about…

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  8. You and your mom can now share many happy memories of her special day. I agree with your great grandmother’s statement as ‘you made do with what you had and I know you were both grateful.’ Bravo! Those words are great reminders for us all as we each muddle through these uncertain times.

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    • I loved my grandmother, but I am finding that this pandemic is really reminding me of some of the lessons she taught me. She lived through the great depressions and two world wars, but had some personal tragedies in her life. And yet she kept going, and lived a full and happy life. I think that is a good role model for me today!

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  9. Wow! No way is your mom 90! There must be a ‘youth’ gene in your family.

    I think the main thing is to get together however you can. For some that’s just one or two people, for others it can only be done by the ‘net, for instance via Zoom. Surely the important thing is expressing love, rather than how it’s done? And I think you did that fine, for your mom. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Val! I agree, the most important thing is expressing the love, and we did manage that. Everyone had a good time together, and some day we’ll be able to have a larger gathering. Meanwhile, we enjoy what we do have and make the most of it!

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  10. We were lucky that we got to celebrate Nan’s 90th birthday last November. It was only a small affair with friends and family dropping in and a bit of a buffet, but she enjoyed it. Sadly, we couldn’t have a proper party for Nan & Grandad’s 70th wedding anniversary, but they’re now in a home and the home threw a bit of a party for them. We’re not sure if Grandad will make his 95th in just over a month, but it would be nice if he did (not that I’m sure we’ll be able to do anything).

    My 40th was a bit of a non-event, so I’ll just have to hope I can go all-out on my 41st! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean… sometimes we just have to be flexible! I’m glad your grandmother got to have her 90th party, but I’m sorry they couldn’t have a big party for their 70th anniversary. Maybe their 71st? Just like your 41st birthday party. We had our 40th anniversary this year with no big plans, but we’re hoping to go on a trip for our 41st!

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  11. Remaining flexible, adaptable to the challenges of a changing world, willing to make compromises are some of the things that make life more tolerable and more enjoyable in the end. I am sure your mother appreciated your effort of creating an alternative birthday party and enjoyed every minute in your much smaller family circle, Ann.

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  12. Your mother looks absolutely wonderful! I never would have guessed her age! I would have guessed at least twenty years younger! She must be doing something right. The photos are great!!!! What a wonderful idea to host it at your house early in the day. Lovely party…all the generations celebrating together. It might not have been the big party you imagined, but what a gala affair in terms of the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are exactly right, Linda! It wasn’t what we had in mind, but it was still fun, and it was so nice to at least recognize Mom’s birthday and let her spend time with family. They treat her very well at her senior center, but she misses getting together with everyone so much, and I feel so sorry for all that she is missing out on. So we just have to be creative, and as my grandma said, learn how to “make do.” (And I’ll tell Mom what you said…she will love it!!!)

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    • Thanks, Svet! It really was so good to all be together, even outside and being careful not to get too close to anyone we didn’t actually live with. It felt like a little slice of “normal” and we all needed that!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It was hot, but she still enjoyed it. It was the first time since the pandemic started that she was able to watch my grandson run around, and only the second time she had laid eyes on our granddaughter. I think that family time was so good for her!

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  13. Wise words indeed, Ann. Your mom looks fantastic for a nonagenarian, and your grandson looks mighty cool in his private swimming pool. It is going to be quite a celebration when this pandemic is over!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Your mom looks great – happy birthday! I know you must have been disappointed too not to have been able to provide that special celebration. So many celebrations have been put off until later. And what a celebration it will be when this is over. Your mother is right, sometimes we just have to make do. And it seems you make it special for her. You are so fortunate to still have her!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! I know, it’s hard to stay hopeful sometimes as this just drags on and on, and plans keep getting cancelled. But I do have faith that we will figure it out eventually, and until then, we do just make do. Mom enjoyed her celebration, and that’s what counts. And I am very grateful to still have her in my life!

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  15. Ann,
    I think you have captured a slice of life that many can relate to during these times of the pandemic. It is so disappointing to have to cancel plans. I’m impressed with your resilience and flexibility. How wonderful that you found a way to celebrate you mother’s 90th birthday. That is a big one!
    I am glad to hear that you and your family and healthy. That might just be the best gift any of us can celebrate right now.
    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ali! I’m beginning to realize that in these crazy times I basically have two choices: become bitter and afraid, or just accept that this is how things are now and to look for ways to live life as fully as I can during a pandemic. And the second choice is obviously the best one! That’s what we tried to do for Mom’s 90th, and I think we succeeded. I appreciate your kind words of encouragement!

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  16. Sometimes, little things aren’t quite enough. Sometimes though, it is the littlest things that create the sweetest memories. A breakfast celebration on a new summer morning – only love could have done that. I can only imagine how happy your mum was that day.
    Beautiful mother, she deserves every happiness!

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    • Thank you so much! I was actually kind of stressed the week before, knowing she was counting on a family party, but also knowing that it would be very hard to do that safely in a pandemic. The breakfast with just my kids and grandkids worked out fine. Mom enjoyed it, no one was put at risk, and we’ll still get her together with the rest of the family and her friends as soon as it is safe. And honestly, knowing she was happy made my day!

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  17. Happy Birthday to your mom, Ann. I think this virus is hardest on the elderly (my parents are 86 and 89). It seems like you made wise choices all along, and how lovely that your mom’s day was still special and memorable. Your thoughtfulness shone through!

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    • Thank you so much! You are so right, this virus is hardest on the elderly, because they are so vulnerable to it and therefore have the most restrictions. But they also really need the personal connection to their family and friends, and so having to give that us is just devastating. I am so thankful that we are still able to see Mom in person, even if we can’t visit her apartment. That makes all the difference!

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      • Me too. I realize that every time I see my parents, there is a risk, a small one perhaps, but a risk. That said, a year of isolation would be devastating to them, so I’m as careful as I can be, and we make the best of it. ❤

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    • Thanks, Sheryl! I think we are all more than ready for this pandemic to be over, and yet it is still with us. So we just have to be flexible and find ways to see our loved ones safely, and have patience and faith that this won’t last forever. Thanks for the birthday wishes! I’ll pass them along to her!

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  18. Wise words indeed! Belated Happy Birthday to your mom! My, she looks stunning! And I’m so glad you got the chance to have this little breakfast birthday party ! You’re so right – flexibility is key!

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    • I am too. It was just a little thing, but at least it acknowledged her birthday and let her spend some time with her grandkids and great-grandkids. In these weird times we live in, we really do just have to be flexible!

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  19. Your mom looks amazing for 90, wow! I can imagine how disappointing this must have been for such a milestone. I wonder if it’s not too late to have a Zoom party? Not the same, of course, but it might be fun for her to see a whole bunch of family and friends on the screen and have them all sing happy birthday to her. Provided they know how to Zoom, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly, my mom has no idea how to zoom, and now that she’s in her retirement community, she has no private access to the internet. She used to use it for email and Facebook, but kept forgetting how to do it and it caused her so much stress that we told her just to get rid of it. They have a community computer she can use if she really needs it, though. Still, I appreciate the suggestion!

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