Happy Birthday, Mom
I got my hug! My dad, my daughter and I were given permission to celebrate Mom’s birthday with her up close and personal! We donned gloves, blue hospital gowns and a clear plastic mask over our faces and over our cloth masks, and at the end of the visit, we were allowed to hug her shoulders.
We could not light candles in the facility. We couldn’t even eat or drink in her presence as that would entail us removing our masks. What we could do—and we did!—was sing with Mom and give her presents.
My wonderful Auntie Barbara in London sent Mom a beautiful card that she’d decorated with photos of the two of them as children. One of the staff kindly laminated it so that Mom can now handle it as much as she wants. We also gave her a revolving photo cube with photos of the family. The one that kept her attention was of her wedding day. She and my dad looked so happy.
Mom was not that interested in singing most of the songs we sang. When we sang, “Happy Birthday,” Mom kept substituting angry, foul words, often in perfect rhythm to the song, instead of the actual words. Then she’d get caught up in our laughter as we delighted in her word-choice. It still amazes us how vulgar Mom can be, considering she never used that language before she became ill with Alzheimer’s. We just chalk it up to the effects of the disease and move on.
Hugging Mom, even from behind so as to prevent us from breathing on her, was the highlight of my week. She seemed comforted by our touch, and when my dad hugged her, she kissed his hands. She has been just as thirsty as we are to reintroduce physical contact. There is an emotional element of our bond that has been terribly strained over the past year.
The next day, we received a text from Mom’s care facility that one of the staff—someone who has received both vaccinations—tested positive for Corona. None of the residents are showing symptoms, but they will all be checked this week. It makes our desire for more contact that much harder to achieve. Will they even let us visit again next week?
I hope we’re not back to square one. I hope that we’ll continue to be able to visit and shower Mom with the love we have for her. Happy 80th birthday, my dear, sweet, loving Mom.
I had such an urge to make a cake yesterday evening. I didn’t even connect it to Mom’s birthday until I invited my dad to come over for tea and dessert and it became an impromptu celebration. I think Mom would have liked this cake. Of course, it’s got my favorite ingredients in it: peanut butter and chocolate.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate Icing
What's not to like about this combination of peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate. Eat it warm from the oven for the most delectable experience.
1 cup peanut butter
¾ cup oil
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2½ cups flour
2¼ cups rolled oats
¾ cup peanut butter
½ cup oil
6 Tbsp milk or milk substitute
½ cup chocolate chips
2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375° F / 190° C. In a large bowl blend together peanut butter, oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla. When combined, slowly mix in flour, baking powder, salt and oats. When combined, pat into a large greased pan. The smaller the pan, the thicker the cake. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the middle is just set. While cake is baking, mix together peanut butter, oil and sugar, making sure to de-lump the icing sugar. Combine chocolate chips and milk (or substitute) in a microwave-safe container and cook on hi for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until chocolate is melted then add to peanut butter mixture. Let cake cook for five minutes then spread icing on top. Eat immediately!
photo by Liora Green