Back in High School I took an achievement test which was supposed to point you in the direction of your future employment. At the time the test scores placed me as someone working with the elderly and or little children. The test said I would excel working in a nursing home or day care center. I read that report and thought “what rubbish!!” and then worked my butt off to stay as far away from those fields as possible. Looking back on my less than stellar career choices these last few decades…I wonder how much simpler life would have been if I only followed what that darn test revealed…
That being said…
I love my job! Oh sure, just like anything else you do, the work can be tedious. But on average, I have a great time hanging out with these ladies and experiencing life with them. I’ll tell you what’s more, I think they’ve made me into a nicer and more patient person too; though my kids may argue to differ. The most common retort to me, whenever I’ve confided what I do for a living is, “I could never be that patient with another person”. I smile and reply, “You’d surprise yourself…” which they smile and reply back saying, “Yeah, no I wouldn’t”.
Sunday afternoon I stopped by my friend Cathie’s and invited her to help me spring a surprise on one of my clients, Mrs. K. Her 92nd birthday is May 22 and I wanted to throw her an impromptu surprise party on Tuesday morning. Cathie-who usually fills in for me when I need a personal day, supplied the party favors while I supplied the cupcakes and candles. We planned for Cathie to arrive about 10:30 am and then go into full surprise mode.
When Cathie arrived, Mrs. K and I were engaged in a mean game of Scrabble (her favorite) and I was happy for a respite from the game. Excusing myself to get something from my car, I met Cathie in the driveway and we both entered her house together yelling, “SURPRISE!!” “What is this?” she asked. “We’re throwing you a surprise birthday party-since we’re both going to miss your special day” I said. “Yes, Happy Birthday!” Cathie said as she pulled party favors from her bag. Encouraging Mrs. K to wear the “Princess” party hats, I opened the container of cupcakes (to die for chocolate fudge) placed a candle in each one. Lighting them we sang horribly off key the Birthday and the May the Dear Lord Bless You songs (which she corrected-when we sang “Dear Mrs. K” and she said, “No. Dear Merrie-essentially eliminating the formality between us), before making her blow out the candles.
She was tickled. “I can’t believe you two went to this trouble…” she said smiling from ear to ear. “What trouble, it’s your birthday and should be celebrated!!” Cathie explained. I was in charge of taking pictures and kept saying, “You’re daughter is going to love seeing you in your Princess hat”. “She giggled like a school girl every time I snapped another picture. Then came the time to eat the cupcakes… “My mother in law would call these sinful…” I remarked as I took another delicious bite. “Are you going to confess them?” Mrs. K asked and laughed. “Sometimes a little sin isn’t so bad…” she added. Laughing I explained, “Now this last cupcake is to be eaten on Thursday-your actual birthday. That way you can reward yourself for reaching 92 with little or no gray hair”. She laughed and said, “I’m not sure how that happened. My mother was gray in her 30’s as was my older sister. Yet here I am…” Cathie and I both lamented the high cost the both of us share in attempts to keep our grays at bay. “We should all be as lucky as you…” I said and she laughed, “Oh I’m sure there are ailments of mine you wouldn’t like”. “Point taken” I said and we all laughed some more.
“Now this isn’t much…” I said as I handed her our present. She looked up at me with incredulity and proceeded to unwrap the book of crossword puzzles we purchased for her. “These will do nicely-I love doing crossword puzzles before bedtime” she exclaimed. “Good, I hoped right!” I said. Standing up from her couch, she gave Cathie a big hug and then me one as well. “You two have certainly made this day memorable for me and now I have something to tell my kids tonight when they call.” She said. “Good!! I’m glad. I’m sorry I can’t be here to celebrate with you..on your day-so I figured today was the next best thing!” “Marsha, this was one of the nicest things anyone has done for me in a long while”. Smiling Cathie and I congratulated one another with smiles. “Well, you’ve been a wonderful blessing in my life too…” I said in return, before wrapping things up for the day.
When I arrived home I may have been just as tickled as she was we were able to give her such a nice surprise. I guess that’s one of the reason’s I love this job so much. You get what you give-on a daily basis…and often times more.