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Today is my parent’s birthday. Yes, I said that correctly, they share a birthday. Mom is three years older than dad – which puts them at 74 and 71. My dad always uses the same joke every year: “We were married on the same day, too!” People have to stop and think about that one. There were several times throughout the year that I thought they might not make it to another birthday together.
Last year they were taking turns in the hospital. Thank goodness they didn’t both go in at the same time. Mom: stroke. Dad: emergency appendectomy. Mom: broken collarbone. Dad: car wreck. Mom: passed out cold at church. That one put her in the hospital via ambulance two days prior to her birthday – age 73.
“Oh, I can’t believe this. This is so dumb. I can’t believe this is happening again. I’m sorry Ruthie, you have enough to do without this too!” She lamented. I assured her that we needed to get to the bottom of this, it was her fifth episode of the sort. “But, oh dear, I sure hope I don’t have to stay here on my birthday!”
There were numerous tests, the doctor being very thorough, even going as far as ordering tests that I requested. While undergoing these examinations, the birthday came.
I have a young cousin who is quite an accomplished harpist. On several occasions she passed through the area and stayed with us as she ministered in different churches with her harp, raising support for a two year missions trip to Bangledesh. On September 20, she texted me to say she would be coming our way. I told her that my mother had been hospitalized, and that I wasn’t home but my family was. “Would you like me to stop on the way and play for Mrs. Davis?” She offered. “You mean HERE?” I queried. “Yes, I’ve played in hospitals before.” This girl acts like lugging a giant harp around is nothing – like toting a measely violin somewhere (my daughter plays violin, we know that’s not a big deal). Boy, that one was just too good to pass up. If mom had to spend her day in the hospital, what better way to celebrate than with her own personal harp concert? I didn’t tell mom about the surprise. I stepped out to run a few errands, hoping to be back before the special celebration.
Two hours later, I stepped off the elevator onto the second floor. A crowd had gathered near my mom’s room. I excused my way in and there was the sweetest sight ever – Lynette, age 22, playing beautifully across from my mom, seated in a chair with her lunch tray – complete with birthday cake! “She just came in here wheeling that big thing and sat down and started playing!” Exclaimed mom. “How about that? I’ve got my own personal harpist!” Hospital staff were halfway in the room and spilling out into the hallway. They took turns coming in and out to hear the special guest harpist. “How beautiful!” They exclaimed. “What a special treat!” A doctor stepped in to say, “We can hear it all the way down the hall!”
Mom’s nurse, having been out of the room for a little while, heard the melodic strains wafting down the hallway. “Where is that music coming from?” She asked a coworker. She glanced down the hall, noticed the crowd, and panicked. “That’s my room, what’s going on?” Apparently, there is a harpist who comes to serenade the hospice patients. The nurse thought this was that harpist and went into a panic, “I just checked on her a half an hour ago and she was fine!” She laughingly recounted the story to me later.
I’ll bet there were at least 50 people who dropped by mom’s room that day. Everyone with a smile, hovering to listen to the harpist. This was probably one of the most special birthdays she had ever had, and it was in the hospital, no less! I don’t know how many more birthdays God has in store for my mom and dad. But I do know this: I’m thankful for each morning that I awaken, stumble downstairs in the dark to look through my living room window – and discover their dining room light is on yet one more time. It’s the little things now. I just read something over the weekend that struck me as profound: Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
Happy Birthday, mom and dad. I love ya!