Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Just had a fantastic weekend with the family! My dad said, "[this weekend] was such good medicine... its still working even today!"

It all started last week when I realized my mom's birthday was drawing very close very quickly. I knew it was Nov 3 - but my dad was convinced it was on 'Sunday'. He was later proved wrong and felt like an idiot for messing up his wife's 60th b-day. None-the-less, we celebrated her birthday on the Sunday as it was the only day the whole family could get together.

As her birthday drew closer, I began to realize how critical it was that I put all the energy I could into making sure my mom's birthday was all about her! Its her big day. During a time when life isn't being too kind, I needed to make sure she had a day that would guarantee her to smile and to have a light heart.

Then during the planning, I realized that with my assessments so close, this might actually be one of the last times we as a family could hang out together. Heck - with my dad's current condition, any family get together could be our last. Thats it! Family nights way more often then just birthdays. Once a week at least!

We surprised my mom at 8am with flowers and an offer to either make breakfast for her or to go out to a restaurant of her choice. She was so surprised! I could tell by the look on her face that she was not expecting it. She choose to grab some breakfast at PJ Quigley's (Greenbank Plaza, across from Woodvale).

Before we left for breakfast, mom insisted on giving my dad a gift that she's been waiting a few days to give him. It was no occasion for my dad - she just wanted to surprise him with something.

A few years ago, my parents enjoyed their first all-inclusive tropical getaway to the Dominican Republic. During their stay, my dad bought two canvases (canvasi?) of local art that he loved. They've been sitting in their basement now for a few years getting wrinkled and dusty. My mom had the canvases stretched and framed.

My dad was truly surprised and loved it. Although the day was supposed to be all about mom, it was still a fantastic way to start the day.

We arrived at the restaurant for breakfast and enjoyed a great meal together. It was so good to be together as a family - we don't do it often enough. My mom kept saying throughout the meal, "I still can't believe I'm sitting here with you guys! What a surprise!"

Then came the moment us kids had all been waiting for. The four of us (Becky, James, Chelsea and I) all chipped in and bought her an Acer One Netbook (laptop). If you haven't seen one already, they work just like a normal laptop, but they are just a bit bigger than a reader's digest. Coolest thing ever. We wanted to make sure it was small enough to fit in her purse and easy for her to use when she needs to work and check her email.

Anyway, somehow, James slipped the laptop into her purse when she wasn't paying attention. When my brother gave me the signal that the laptop was in place, I asked mom, "Hey mom, you got a pen?" She always does - in her purse.

To our surprise, she actually dug around in her purse for a solid twenty seconds searching for the pen before she finally gasped with excitement. We knew right then that we had nailed her birthday gift.

She was sooooo excited! I haven't seen her this excited and happy in so long. Soooo good to see!

Just as we were about to leave, we bumped into some long-lost family! It was great to see them! They are also struggling with a health crisis of their own, in fact. It was great to encourage each other. Please, keep them in your prayers as well.

After breakfast, my parents went home for a few hours. My dad needed to take a nap. He seems to be constantly exhausted. My mom wanted to walk off breakfast. James and Becky headed home with Chelsea to start cooking a delicious feast for dinner - some crazy chicken pot roast.

I have to take a moment to publicly acknowledge the bomb that is my wife. She slaved all day preparing an amazing dinner - all for my family. Sweetheart - I can't even tell you how much that meant to me!

My parents made their way over to our house at 3pm. There was a cake waiting with a card from the girls at the bakery (Artistic Cake Design). She loved it. We spent a few minutes talking. I suggested my parents chill in our TV room and watch a movie - so they did.

My dad kept saying, "Your house is so beautiful - I need to come her more often! Its so relaxing."

Dinner was finally ready around 5:30pm - and boy was it worth waiting for. We ate like kings (and queens) and enjoyed each other's company.

What a great freakin weekend.

Dad called today and reiterated how much he loved our weekend and how important it was to him that we do it more often.

My dad's growing frustration with his situation makes it more and more difficult to bring a smile to his face. It was great to hear him sound so happy.


Just want to say how wonderful it is that so many people are following my dad's story! I bumped into an old friend-of-mine's mom on the weekend - a very unexpected and delightful surprise. We couldn't spend too much time catching up. In the few minutes we had together, she mentioned that she was following my dad's story on the blog. I was blown away. I asked her how she found out about it. Her reply was, "I think it was the facebook". I love parents. It was fantastic seeing you, Mrs T! Really encouraging! G & S - I'm honoured that you'd read the blog. Thanks so much for keeping up with the blog and for your prayers.

And to all of you who silently read this blog and think/pray for my family, and I know there are many of you because I can feel your support in so many ways, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!


Currently, dad's doing ok. Even after the doctors drained 6 litres of fluid from his abdomen last week, his stomach is still huge and he's in a lot of pain.

I was unaware of this - but dad actually has an appointment this Wednesday in Toronto. He'll be staying with my Aunt Gail in downtown Toronto - just eight blocks from the hospital. I think the appointment is just a checkup. He has two more of these appointments the two Wednesday's following. Lots of driving coming up.


Happy Birthday Mom! Next year - Punta Cana! And no - dad didn't ask me to write that.

1 comment:

Nancy Stass said...

Hi Josh:
I am really glad you took the time to celebrate your mom's birthday. I'm sure she needed that little break! And it's us who read your blog who are silently thanking you for taking the time to keep us informed so that we don't have to constantly intrude on your family in order to "keep an eye" on Brian.
Lots of love to you all, Cousin Nancy