Behind the Scenes Birthday Weekend

Posted on May 9, 2022


As we all know, life, just like Supreme Court decisions, can cause whiplash. Life in the Boomer Lane has already written a thoughtful piece about the meaning for her of turning seventy-five. Let’s leave that for the moment and address ourselves to the reality of what was going on behind the scenes during her birthday weekend.

Plans were for her to go to Brooklyn to stay with Only Daughter and her family, which included a husband, three young boys, and some fish in a tank. Now Husband was due to be in Greece, so he would not be part of the birthday celebration. Because LBL has personally known Only Daughter since well before she (OD) was born, she (LBL) can attest to the following: OD is a master at celebrating the events of the lives of the people in her life. LBL knew there would be something in store for her.

Two days before leaving for New York, Now Husband came back from Greece early. LBL was thus privy to his devotion to LBL and to his always-epic jet lag. She did not change her travel plans, leaving Now Husband to muck his way through whatever post-travel Twilight Zone he was currently inhabiting.

On the morning of the departure, OD called LBL to tell her that one of her boys had just tested positive for Covid. This set off a series of phone calls, emails and texts between LBL and her kids. Her Charleston son told her he would get her a plane ticket for that very day and she could celebrate the Grand Event with him and his family. LBL consulted with Now Husband about what to do. His well-considered input was “What day is this?”

Five minutes before leaving for the airport, LBL told OD that she would be going to Charleston instead and told Younger Son that she would be coming to Charleston. She re-packed and re-dressed, as the temps in Charleston were 30 degrees warmer than in Brooklyn. She told Now Husband she now needed a ride to the airport instead of the train station. Now Husband’s immediate response was “Is it still Wednesday?”

LBL flew to Charleston, was picked up by Charleston Son and had a perfectly wonderful impromptu birthday celebration. Many activities were planned for the weekend. Aside from having ongoing flashes that she was in the wrong place for the right reason, LBL was thrilled to be in Charleston.

At 5:50 the next morning, LBL was happily awakened by small bodies hurling themselves onto her in the bed. As these bodies were considerably smaller than the ones she was supposed to be with, she knew she was in Charleston and not Brooklyn.

She went into Charleston Son’s bedroom to say good morning and was greeted with, “We need to fly you home.” He explained that LBL’s three-year-old grandson had been coughing very badly since waking up that morning. He and LBL’s daughter-in-law didn’t want to take the chance that LBL would get sick. Within 20 minutes they switched LBL’s ticket and LBL started packing again. She called Now Husband and asked him to pick her up three days early at a different airport than the one he dropped her off at. His immediate reply was, “Who am I speaking to?”

Before heading to the airport, LBL’s Seattle Son called to tell her that his younger daughter had broken her arm (climbing dome), and after returning from the ER, they had to go right back because the older daughter’s wrist was swollen and they suspected a break (soccer). LBL realized she was rapidly running out of grandchildren.

LBL, close to a fugue state with all the events that had transpired in less than 48 hours, headed to the airport. The only bright light was that, as a newly-minted seventy-five-year-old, she was immune to the “shoes off” and “jacket off” TSA security check regulations. She kept her license in hand, ready to challenge the fact that she was the age she declared herself to be. Three different TSA personnel told her to take her shoes off. She replied loudly to each one, “I don’t have to. I’m seventy-five!” The result was “OK, go ahead.” This provided an extremely anti-climactic end to a surreal two days.

Now Husband picked her up. LBL got into the car, mentally exhausted, and said “I feel like I never left.” NH answered “Remind me why you left.” “My birthday,” LBL reminded him. NH seemed a bit surprised. His response was “What day is it?”