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Paper, Bows, and Ribbons

We hit a milestone in our family. Mother celebrated her 99th birthday and stepped into her 100th year this week. We crammed into our house with family and friends on a hot and humid day cheering her and marveling at her spirit. She was born on July 1st in the year 1920. This was the year when Gandhi kicked off the non-cooperation movement to evict the Brits from India. In the US, which is where she resides now, the Great Depression was starting. In the middle of these momentous events, she arrived to a land assessor father, a homemaker mother, and a grandmother who went on to live to 105.

Yup, she born with robust genes which is evident in her radiant smile.

She missed the end of WWI by a couple of years which gives her a jaw-dropping breadth of experience. She's has been a witness to momentous events in history and technology - WWII, the atomic bombs, cars, commercial flying, TV, landing on the moon, landline phone (umm, she has had a hallowed relationship with that one!), cell phones, video, vacuum cleaners, genetically modified foods, India's economic rise, feminism, biotechnology, the human genome, medical advancements, and the internet. She is chronically averse to technology, yet has hollered from the the top of the stairs to tell me to "check the internet" for a particular news item. When I place us in her shoes, I wonder what life-altering discoveries await us in the next forty odd decades.

She has slowed down considerably on the physical and cognitive fronts. Walking is terribly troublesome and there isn't a joint that does not hurt. Working taste buds are few and far between, leaving her not wanting to eat. She's lonely and anxious. None of this is unexpected and she copes with tenacity and sass. The reality is that she spends an enormous amount of her time on her own, wondering what is next.

Except right now...

She has a mountain of tissue paper, bows, wrapping paper, and ribbons to play with from the numerous gifts she received from our friends. If she were running this house, she would neatly fold each piece of paper, gently preserve the wrapping, and carefully roll the ribbons and save them forever. Unfortunately for her recycling interferes with her pleasures, leaving her fuming at me for taking away her "toys".

So today, after she gets through opening the last set of gifts, I will ask her where she wants me to keep the paper, bows, and ribbons and I will let her play with them for a few days. At age 99, I sure hope my kids will let me do just that. 363 days to #100. Let's do it!

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