It's Grandmother's birthday today. As I got older, I was always aware when April 10th rolled around. And it was hard to pick out a gift for her, especially during the last decade or so of her life.
It's not that she would refuse anything. But Grandmother was allergic to everything, or so it seemed. Perfume, flowers - she couldn't handle it. The only thing she liked was a particular lotion from Merle Norman. And we did that - for a few birthdays.
All in all, she just didn't seem to want or need much on her birthday. Sometimes we bought her a pair of slippers or a muu-muu nightgown. She was, in fact, just happy to be remembered and to have us around her. In truth, it was us who benefitted from our time with her.
Today, I wish I could tell her just how indispensable she was in my upbringing. For most of my elementary school years straight through to my freshman year at Scarborough High School, my grandmother was there for me morning and afternoon. She ensured that I finished my homework, practiced the piano, all while she was getting dinner ready for everyone before my parents arrived.