Try Again…

My mother turned 90 two years ago, but we never did have the big party we’d planned to celebrate. We were going to invite all her family and friends, because we believed that reaching 90 years of age was a big deal, and should be celebrated in a big way.  But then Covid showed up, and Mom’s birthday celebration was added to the long list of things the pandemic ruined.  We thought we’d just wait a year and throw her a big 91st birthday party instead.  But that didn’t happen either, because my husband was in the hospital on her birthday, and for many days afterwards.

Sadly, Mom has now reached the point where the big celebration we had hoped to throw would just overwhelm her.  So last Sunday,  I was going to host a birthday party for immediate family and a few close friends.  But then a family member was exposed to Covid, and we knew that having the party as scheduled was not a good idea.  Mom settled for dinner with two of her daughters and son-in-laws, and she seemed fine with that.

Yesterday, I was planning to go to a metro book fair that I hadn’t been to in three years.  It’s an excellent source for good books at very reasonable prices.  But as I was pulling out of our driveway I noticed that our dog was outside in our yard.  At first I wasn’t worried, since my husband was home and I figured he’d let Finn back inside soon.  But it was 102 degrees outside, and our yard doesn’t have much shade.  The further I got from home, the more I worried, so I finally pulled over and called my husband, just to be sure he’d brought Finn in.  My husband didn’t answer, not that time or the five other times I called. I even called some neighbors, but no one was home.

I know my husband is very responsible, and I really wanted to go to this book fair.  But I was also worried about my dog.  By the time I got to the book fair, I knew I couldn’t stay, so I simply drove back home.  The dog, of course, was inside the house, sleeping peacefully.  I almost decided to just stay home and forget the whole thing, but I didn’t.  I drove all the way back to the fair, and spent a very pleasant afternoon browsing through the books.

It’s hard to plan things these days and, it can sometimes seem almost pointless to count on anything happening when we want it to.  It can be tempting to simply stop trying.  But that’s no way to live.  Sometimes we need to be both stubborn and flexible, willing to reschedule and be patient in order to get what we want.  Sometimes, persistence really is the key.

We have a new date set for Mom’s birthday party, but if we have to, we’ll reschedule again, until it happens.  And it took a lot of time and effort to get to the book fair this year, but it was worth it.  I had fun, and came home with a big bag of new books to read.  As the old saying goes, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again……”

82 thoughts on “Try Again…

  1. You just described hopeful and hope filled living, Ann. I’m with you on every point in your post. Life loses its allure very quickly when we give up prematurely, or even when we let the downers of life shackle us. Life won’t always work out the way we plan – as what happened with your Mum’s birthday celebrations – but if we keep our eyes firmly on what really matters, just as you did by putting your mother’s changing needs first, we can adapt and adjust better to the moment.

    And the sweetness of life is not lost to us.

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    • It is! It won’t be the big party we have hoped for, but it will be appropriate and fun. We’ve rescheduled it for the end of July, but if we have to, we’ll move into August. The important thing is that her birthday is celebrated!

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  2. You are right Ann. We must remain cautious, but we can not lose hope. Hope is what helps us carry on and we must still make the effort to celebrate life and the important people in our lives. Stay well and plan that party. Allan

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  3. There’s a phrase that says, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’ How true this is. I’m glad your mum managed to do something nice for her birthday, even if it wasn’t what was initially planned. I hope the next time, you’ll be able to have some celebrations that would suit her at her age. We have to value every minute with our mums. I lost mine six years ago, as you know, and I miss her very much. Days like birthdays and Mother’s Days become even more poignant when they are no longer with us.

    I’m glad you managed to get to the book fair and that Finn was safely indoors despite your initial worry. It’s scorching here today, also – the temperature is 41C (105.8F) – unheard of for the UK. It’s a bit much to cope with and Peanut, my cat, isn’t very happy about not being allowed out in this heat. We’re expecting more of the same tomorrow, so she’s not going to be impressed then either.

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    • I had heard that Europe is in the middle of a terrible heat wave, and I’m so sorry! It’s almost as bad as being snowed in when it gets this hot, because it’s too hot to be outside and do anything for any length of time at all. And thanks for your kind words. We are so very lucky to have Mom still with us, healthy and alert. She’s slowing down for sure, but she’s still herself. I’m so sorry about your mom….you lost her far too soon and I do know how much you miss her. I can only imagine how hard Mother’s day and her birthday are now!

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  4. You have to be flexible and do the possible.
    When mother was 100 her friends had planned a big party for the day…but she wanted to visit the town where she had been stationed during the war, so I took her there and she had a blast revisiting old haunts. Party rescheduled for her return and all went swimmingly.
    My husband is ill so we have to do things when he is well enough to cope…other days we stay at home.

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    • Yes, even though his fur isn’t thick, he really doesn’t tolerate the heat well at all. I do think it is his color, as dark color absorb the heat more, and it might also be that his thin fur lets the sun make too much contact with his skin. That’s why I was so worried, not being sure that Finn was safely inside. I was afraid my husband hadn’t seen him follow me outside, and would get busy upstairs or take a nap and not hear Finn scratching to get back in! Luckily, he knew Finn was out and let him back in just a few minutes after I left.

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  5. Glad you got to the book fair but good call on going back to check on Finn. I do the same thing often with my girls; double and triple checking. Part of it is my obsessive and unfounded worry for their well being. But I’d rather be sure and know that they are safe and then I can go about my business with peace of mind. I bet you will have one heck of a party for your mom once it all comes together.

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    • I’m a little obsessive about animal care too, so I understand. And there was no way I could enjoy browsing at the book fair without being absolutely certain Finn wasn’t outside in the sun in that heat the whole time. There was nothing for it but to go home and check! And yes, we will eventually (hopefully in two weeks) have the party for Mom!

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  6. I know what you mean about birthday parties for our parental units We celebrated my husband’s step-moms 90th two years ago by decorating the car with balloons and parking in front of the seniors residence. When she came out, much of the family was there to greet her and we had an outdoors masked, ‘social distance’ visit for a short while. This year we could take her out anywhere, but she just isn’t up to being in larger groups nor going anywhere much at all (for recent health reasons). So, like you say, we just have to go with the flow.

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    • That was such a sweet way to celebrate a birthday in the middle of a pandemic! And sounds like the same situation we have: now that larger gatherings are allowed, our elderly mothers and step moms just aren’t up for it. So we just make the necessary adjustments and do the best we can. The important thing is that we recognize their birthdays and let them know how much we care.

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  7. Oh my! The heat and COVID are still major problems all over. I’m so happy you will be able to make your mother’s birthday celebration happen – no matter when! I’m a little envious about the book sale…. If you read any really outstanding books I’d love toy have the title and author so I can put them on my reading list!!

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    • I know! Right now, heat and Covid are the two biggest problems…..we still try to be outside as much as possible around bigger crowds, but who can be outside in this heat? So it’s probably a good thing that Mom needs a smaller party after all. As for books, I did find one called, “All Over But the Shouting” by Rick Bragg. His books are always good, but my favorite one is his latest, “The Speckled Beauty.” I also enjoy mysteries by Tana French.

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    • Yes, there was no way I’d enjoy the fair if I was worried the whole time about my dog left out in the heat for too long. And I was also beginning to get concerned that there might be a problem with my husband since he wasn’t answering his phone. (Turns out, he just had no service so it wasn’t ringing on his end.) And I agree that we need to get out and about and enjoy life as much as possible!

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  8. Good for you Ann! You’re so right though, these days our plans are rarely guaranteed to come through, but if we cancel instead of postponing and trying again, we’ll never get anything done and that’s just a sad, miserable, boring life.

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    • Thank you! Right now, we’re shooting for the last Sunday in July, but if that can’t happen, we’ll just reschedule again. And I agree, book sales are the best….I’m so glad I got to go!

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  9. Life does get in the way. Sometimes we just have to go for it even if it is not perfect, but COVID certainly derailed many plans. Still another year for your mom past 90 is reason to celebrate even in a small way. I hope you get to celebrate in a special way soon. Book sales are too good to miss!

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  10. It’s good that you took the time to check on Finn. Animals can find ways to cope with heat, but a little caution and a little extra help never hurts. Humans can find it harder to cope with life — whether it’s the heat or disrupted plans — but a little creativity can find ways around the roadblocks.

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    • You’re right, animals are much better at coping than people. But I’ve learned to be patient (mostly) and creative, and that helps a lot. I wouldn’t have been as worried about Finn if he had access to water and wasn’t in the habit of sitting on our concrete back porch, in full sun, waiting for someone to let him back in. I’d like to think he had the sense to move to the shade if no one came right away, but honestly, I’m not sure he does!

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  11. Sometimes the sweetest things we experience are those which were the most difficult to achieve. Hugs to you for your perseverant Spirit- it is no doubt your mother’s celebration will be filled with joy, at the appointed time. 🥰

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  12. Totally agree! Everything has become a challenge to our patience and tenacity it seems. It is sad to me there are fewer opportunities to spontaneity.

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  13. This is quite true. We’re planning my 50th (gulp) bday celebration for next year, and it’s hard to get as excited as I normally would be, because who knows what may happen between now and then. But you’re right…whatever happens, we just have to try again 😉

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    • Thanks so much, Barb! And I wish I could tell you how to comment on your phone, but I don’t know how to do that either. Thanks for taking the time to go back to my post and comment anyway….very much appreciated!

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  14. I suspect that a lot of big events had to be postponed, or at least altered somewhat, because of COVID. I’m sorry your mom’s birthday was one of them, but if she’s like a lot of the seniors I know, she’s just happy to be sharing the day with family. I’m glad poor Finn wasn’t stuck outside in the heat!

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    • Yes, she really doesn’t mind putting the party off a little while, and she’ll be very happy with the smaller party when we do have it. And thanks….I was so glad Finn wasn’t stuck outside too! He really doesn’t handle heat well.

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  15. Happy Birthday to your beautiful mother. She is lucky to have a daughter like you. You are right. It pays to remain positive when making plans. The important thing is to keep trying and not give up. Sometimes, when our plans are changed, something really special happens instead. You just never know. I think ‘showing up’ for the people we love really makes the difference. It is not always about a party or a trip. It is about being present for someone and letting them know that you care deeply about them. The simple act of having a birthday cake and celebrating the moment means a lot. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Linda! I’ll pass on your kind words. And I agree, sometimes when our plans change in a way that disappoint us, we find out that the new plans are even better. I’ve had that happen more than once. As for Mom, she’ll be happy with the smaller party we’re planning to throw for her this Sunday. A big party would have been fun a couple of years ago, but now it would overwhelm her. All she really wants, as you say, is time with her family. And an angel food cake, with strawberries…..LOL!

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