“What’s your secret?” Mary asked my mother on Sunday evening, as we sat together enjoying yet another little birthday celebration after the evening service at the Christian fellowship my mother has attended for at least 30 years.
Mom looked surprised, then replied: “I count my blessings and not my aches and pains!”
I believe there are actually psychological studies that indicate optimists live longer than pessimists, so it isn’t really a secret. “Count your blessings” has always been one of my mother’s guiding principles, and we can see the results!
It has been three days of almost non-stop celebrations, with most of the family here together, including a surprise visit by my eldest granddaughter who also flew in from Switzerland on Saturday morning bringing the very latest addition to the family, just five and a half weeks old but already the proud possessor of an ID card (with photo) that serves as passport. A delightful surprise at breakfast time on THE day! The little boy was very good, happy to be passed from granny to great-granny to great-great-granny and back to his aunties, uncle and grandfather before reaching the familiar arms of his mother again!
There were other pleasant surprises, of course: lots of cards and presents, flowers, pot-plants, chocolates, wine, toiletries … all very much appreciated. Plenty of oohing and aahing ensued, and finally off we went to the restaurant for our special birthday lunch, where we stayed until four pm.
We had arranged with the restaurant for them to bring out a cake with sparklers and candles at the end of our meal, and my middle granddaughter baked that (a delectable egg-rich almond cake), plus two others (a dark chocolate and a lemon one) that made very welcome additions to the little birthday party on Monday afternoon for nephews, nieces and neighbours. These were recipes she hadn’t tried before, but she didn’t have to worry, the cakes were truly delicious. As was the rich fruit cake that took pride of place on the table. I also didn’t have to worry about not having enough food – several people went away with cake wrapped in a serviette to enjoy at home and we still have quite a lot left over!
Although we had a houseful of large people, everything went smoothly over the weekend. On Sunday morning we provided 8 full English breakfasts, including cereal and freshly baked croissants, and that kept us all going until the evening. It was a pity that most of our clan had to leave on Sunday afternoon so they could go to work on Monday, but it was wonderful to have all five generations here for this great occasion.
Best of all, Mom had a wonderful time, thoroughly enjoyed every moment, and is looking forward to a repeat of it all on her centenary next year.