A Simple Celebration

Denise
On Sunday, we celebrated my dad's 84th birthday, which was August 17, and my parents' 58th anniversary, which was September 14.

I kept the celebration simple, decorating one side of the table with birthday confetti and the other side with "wedded bliss" confetti. We reserved a resident lounge, ideally situated across from my dad's room in the assisted living section. The party took place between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. with cake and champagne as well as water and pop (or soda as some may say). I ordered a cake for each event--a birthday cake with strawberry filling and an anniversary cake with custard filling--with hope the choice made all happy. (Some choose to taste test both which made them very happy).

I invited all my siblings and their families. Everyone came except a niece who's away at college, a niece who had to work, and Sibling and her husband. Sibling didn't not respond to the text invite but I knew she wouldn't show when I saw her the afternoon before at the nursing home. She visits my mom (she's mad at my dad for some reason so won't interact with him) for about 45 minutes every few weeks. I knew she wouldn't visit two days in a row. Two of Sibling's children attended our celebration, which we loved. We didn't ask about their mother and they didn't volunteer any information.

My parents loved the celebration and I loved that they didn't focus on Sibling's absence. In the past, my mom has fretted when Sibling boycotts family get-togethers. I would tell her, "If you focus on who isn't here, you miss out on enjoying those who do show up."

I'm not sure what Sibling hopes to gain by choosing to not attend family functions. The number of simple celebrations we have with our parents are declining, just as they are. She hurts our parents, which upsets us, and she hurts herself, as we don't miss her. Our functions are easier and much more pleasant without her.

And, so it goes.

(I've included photos from Sunday's celebration as well as a photo of my parents four years ago on my dad's 80th birthday.)

Join our mailing list

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter that includes caregiving tips, news, support and more.