Dad’s 99th Birthday

This past Saturday we had Dad’s 99th birthday party at our house. We had a total of 58 people on a beautiful, sunny day. Kate and I both had a feeling of relief yesterday. She was absolutely worn out. We both went to bed around 8:30. Besides the weather’s being great,  everyone seemed to enjoy the party, especially Dad.

We did quite a lot in preparation for the party. We painted the outside of the house, had some electrical work done, got a new rug for the family room, bought a new love seat for the family room, cleaned up the garage, did more than the usual cleaning of the house, and Kate did a lot of work outside with her plants. All of these things needed to be done anyway. The party was just a catalyst to do them now. Of course, they don’t include all the things directly related to the party like invitations printed and mailed, selection of a caterer and menu, decisions about handling the crowd outside, inside, and what to do if it rains, etc. I don’t like managing details, and event planning is far from my strength. With all this done I can now focus on other things for a while.

Kate’s AD had quite an impact on me during the preparations and during the weekend, but I don’t think anyone else would have been aware of her condition at all. There are things that came up that could have potentially alerted someone, but to my knowledge nothing gave her away. One time she came to me as we were preparing to serve dinner to the family Saturday evening after the party. She took me aside and whispered in my ear, “Where do we keep the wine glasses?” I got them for her, and no one knew.

I was aware that the preparations put her under a lot of stress. I felt a lot of stress myself, but it must be double or triple that for her because of insecurity that comes from her inability to think clearly and to remember the many details required to pull off something like this. One of the things that was troublesome to me was her focus on her plants and landscaping when I felt we should be focusing on more basic things like the cleanliness of the house. I also felt the load was completely on my shoulders. She gets flustered by making decisions, and thankfully, defers to me for most things. That meant that she did precious little to manage any of the little things like meals for our family. I do wonder if people notice this. She has just bowed out of the routine things she would have done in the past.

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