Those of you who read my daughter’s post, “To Our Beloved Bunny,” know that my mother (aka “Bunny” to her grand and great-grandchildren) was in hospice care, following a severe seizure episode in early January. What I haven’t reported is that she graduated from hospice this month and is now in an assisted living residence.
Today, she celebrated the milestone of her 95th birthday. I am glad to say that while not totally back to her old self, she has her humor, enjoys socializing with other residents, reads, watches Netflix (British crime mysteries her favorites), and is back to church.
What do you give a 95-year-old for their birthday? While Mom was doing well in December, my wife launched a plan for a unique birthday gift…a charm necklace. On New Year’s Eve, I put the idea out to the family on Facebook Messenger with the suggestion that her children and grandchildren supply a charm that in some way typified each one’s unique relationship with their mother/grandmother. While there was a hiatus in the planning once she went into hospice, charms began arriving when it became clear that we would indeed celebrate this special birthday. This morning, we gave her gift.
The oldest granddaughter, who gave Mom the “Bunny” moniker, supplied a bunny charm. My daughter, influenced by Mom’s piano skills, gave a grand piano charm. The funniest charm is a set of false teeth that open. Mom had a knack of amusing the grands and greats by dropping her false teeth and protruding them from her mouth. The most poignant is a girl’s silhouette, representing a granddaughter who died at age 26 in a drowning accident. From a poodle to a camper, each charm brings back special memories of time we’ve spent with Bunny.
Mom’s spiritual life as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ has been an example to many and she continues to be a witness of His grace (gift of salvation) to others. For that reason, my contribution was a Bible charm, a book that is dear to her as she has read, studied, applied and taught it for years.
Oh, did I mentioned that her given name IS Grace, the word meaning “gift?” We are grateful that God has allowed us to continue to have the gift of our family matriarch. She is our own “Amazing Grace.”
Postscript: Here is a rundown of the current charms not already mentioned (I’m sure more will be added).
Hummingbird – Hours were spent watching these tiny birds at my parents’ feeders at their home on Kentucky Lake.
Camper – Our family camping history began in earnest when my dad took a guest professorship at Central Washington State University the summer of 1967. Three of the five kids accompanied the folks on that two week trek to Washington, pulling a new Apache tent trailer. It slept four, which meant I slept on the floor anytime we camped. We camped all over the northwest that summer and made some great memories. My parents eventually graduated to an Airstream and a motorhome, but I always preferred the “roughing it” years.
Washington State Ferry– That summer we traveled by ferry on the Puget Sound several times. That was my first time to be on board any boat that size.
Jackrabbit/Grand Canyon – On our return trip that summer we took a southwest tour and spent three days at the Grand Canyon. I’ve not been back, but have an upcoming trip I hope to share with you.
Hersey Kisses – We are a kiss on the lips family…sloppy and wet…deal with it.
Poodle – Mom and Dad owned two toy poodles, Gidget and Ginger. These were their dogs after the we kids were grown, and they traveled with them, so the grandkids got to share in the memories of these special pets.
Tractor – One of the sibling’s family farmed so there were lots of visits to this farm in NE Arkansas.
Book – Mom, a former librarian, is an avid reader and maintained the library at the senior apartment in which she formerly lived.
Dolphins – Our favorite vacation spot is on the panhandle of Florida where our family has been gathering every October since the mid-80’s. We have always enjoyed spotting the dolphins trolling near the beach.
Sand dollar – Our favorite beach once had sand dollars the size of your hand. Now, your lucky to see them the size of a dollar coin, which the name implies.
Quilt – Bunny made a wedding quilt for each of her grandchildren. Thus, a very tangible treasure for each of the 16.
Tennessee – Though having been born in Iowa and living here now, Mom lived the majority of her adult life in Tennessee.
Cooking Utensils – Well, it goes without saying that we like to eat, and Mom ran a good kitchen!
Heart – A contribution of a red heart charm seemed appropriate to fall in the center of all the charms. While I’m sure the grandson who gave it had the idea of love in mind, I think it can represent three things: 1) our love for Bunny; 2) her love for her family and others and; 3) God’s love for us that he demonstrated through the death of his Son, Jesus, whose blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins.