Friday, January 8, 2016

The Worst Happy Birthday Greeting, EVER

This was the most mean spirited birthday greeting my mom ever received. After perfunctory well wishes, the note proceeded to set forth a litany of suggestions regarding my mom's alleged imperfections. She should consider, among a long list of possibilities set forth, undergoing obesity counseling, alcohol misuse counseling, depression screening, and even, get this, a PAP test.

I understand that my mom has a very bad sweet tooth and, in recent years given her very minimal level of activity,  that she has put on a few extra pounds. Well, ok, maybe a few is a bit on the light end of the scale. And I do recall moments, on very rare occasion, when she would take a drink or two more than she should and ended up "indisposed" for a few hours, but that hasn't happened in at least 40 years. Nobody should have a black mark for that long for such infrequent indiscretion. And while she may be very quiet with eyes closed on most days, often remote and sometimes cranky for a few minutes, she is not depressed, not even close to it. And what the hell is this about cancer screening?

My mom turns 98 today, having been born while the first World War was not considered the first because it was the only one. Her best days have long since left the room and what remains is, well there is no real polite word for the state she has had to endure almost a decade.

Today, my mom's friends at Medicare sent her emailed well wishes for the day. They surely know how old my mom is, as they informed her that she has been eligible, through them, for a PAP test since January 1, 1983. I think it would have little value to her at this juncture, and while I appreciate the thought, I will, on my mom's behalf respectfully decline.

As to the other services for which she is eligible, my mom has been a lifelong member of Weight Watchers. Never more than a few pounds above her 'playing weight", she struggled, as we all do, with looking her absolute best at all times. But remarkably, she remains, if not as beautiful as in her youth, still attractive. And at her age, that is an amazing accomplishment. Her face is still pretty and on the right day she is indeed beautiful.

If she had a drink or two, would could blame her? I haven't seen her drink anything stronger than Ensure since about the turn of the millennium, but if she wanted a "stiff"vodka nothing would make me happier.

And if she doesn't smile so much anymore on the outside, I know inside she is still happy to see me and my sister, and nearly ecstatic when her grandchildren are in her presence. I never remember a day when I was growing up that my mom appeared depressed or even unhappy. And she is not ready, as she nears her 100th year, to change her stripes now.

Thus, while I am grateful that there are those who send salutations recognizing my mom is still here, I am hoping next year my mom's friends at Medicare can soften their tone. Maybe they can merely congratulate her for having spent another 365 days among us, still the same thin(ish), fun loving, joyful and, considering the alternative, healthy person who they remember with great fondness starting with the days before Prohibition.

And, I should let them know, if they send a card with a few dollars in it, that would be most appreciated.

No comments: