Just In Case There Was Any Doubt
Grasshopper

Party Like You're 99

And then, in the middle of everything, I looked at the calendar and realized it was time for another post for the American Cancer Society sponsored More Birthdays campaign.

Yes, more death and cancer talk. THAT'S THE TICKET. LET THE GOOD TIMES BLOG. 

I didn't even get to actually attend Jason's grandmother's memorial service on Sunday -- after being led to believe by his parents that the whole thing was just a casual reception/family get-together and that we should absolutely bring Noah and Ezra, we arrived at the nursing home's auditorium to...a quiet, somber church service. With hymns and prayers and a sermon and everything. We were the only ones who brought children.

Oh, and this was already taking place during Ezra's nap time, too. So he was in reeeeeally great shape, and I'd promised them cookies and chocolate milk, but the food hadn't been delivered yet, and SERIOUSLY, IT WAS SO QUIET AND REVERENT AND CHURCH-Y. And then we showed up with a pack of wild Unitarian hyenas, or something. 

So. We'll...be in the back row, I guess.

But even in the back row, the boys' cries of DO YOU HAVE CANDY IN YOUR BAG, MOMMY? CANDY? CAN I HAVE CANDY? were obviously disruptive, and suddenly the candy (that I did indeed have in my bag) became the noisiest candy to ever be unwrapped, basically negating any "put this in your talkhole and BE QUIET" benefits as I comically struggled to q-u-i-e-t-l-y deal with extremely stubborn cellophane...

Yeah. We moved out to a hallway first, and then eventually settled in an empty meeting room down the hall, where I was finally confident that I could pacify my children with YouTube videos on my phone without disturbing anyone in the silent, echo-y hallway and auditorium. 

So I don't know how the service went. Jason said it was nice. The doors opened for the reception part and the boys both critically regarded a fruit-and-cheese place before spotting the cookies and brownies available at the other end of the buffet.

Ezra found some cookies topped with maraschino cherries. He carefully took each and every one, chewed off the cherry, and then returned the rest of the cookie to the platter.

Noah refused to give up custody of my phone and mostly ignored the extended family members we'd specifically dragged him three hours away from home to see, as I awkwardly tried to explain to random people that he didn't USUALLY get to play with video-game gadgets like that but desperate times and extenuating circumstances and did I just say something about feeling great this pregnancy? Actually, I'm exhausted, we've spent more nights away from home this month than in an entire year, we have to get BACK in the car in a couple more hours and mostly I just don't feel like dealing with iPhone-related fallout right now, so JUDGE AWAY. Imma gonna go eat a brownie.

"THE ZOMBIES ATE MY BRAINS!" Noah shrieked at one point, so loudly that every single person in attendance turned away from the coffee station to stare at him in surprise.

This delighted Noah very much, and he continued for his new audience. "THE ZOMBIES GOT TO MY HOUSE! I'M DEAD! AUUUGH! OH NO! CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP!" He collapsed to the floor in a fit of self-satisfied giggles. 

Then Ezra, of course, chose this exact moment to barf up about seven or eight half-digested maraschino cherries all over his dress clothes. 

Jason and I cleaned up the Pepto-tinted puke the best we could with a stack of cocktail napkins from the buffet table, since I'd already gone through our stash of wipes after cleaning up an earlier mess involving the blasted cellophane candy of humiliation.

There was a photo montage running over a projector with pictures of Grandma when she was younger, and framed collages and albums of her, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We all talked about the photos, and Grandma, but mostly...people wanted to talk about the boys, and my pregnancy and due date and do you know what you're having? Oh my goodness, another boy, how funny, but how cute they'll all be, oh my goodness again.  

When we spotted  Ezra lying under a row of chairs, sucking his thumb, we decided to leave.

"That was a great birthday party," Noah commented in the car. "I hope Great-Grandma liked it."

Jason and I froze. "Great-Grandma wasn't there, buddy," I stammered. "Remember? She died. We talked about that?"

"I know," Noah said cheerfully. "But it's okay. We can still have fun at her birthday party. She doesn't mind."

***

Today I asked Noah to pick out a song from the More Birthdays site to go with this story. He liked this one. And he hopes you have fun at your next birthday party. Or at pirate camp. I don't think that's actually a thing, but he seems awfully excited about it. 

Comments

jaelithe

This story very nearly beats my story of carrying my grandmother's ashes around in a plastic food container in a grocery bag marked PEPSICO.

(Don't ask. Maybe I'll tell the whole thing on my blog someday.)

Anyway, assuming I don't live forever, I totally want adorable children to eat cookies and talk about zombies at my memorial service. In my opinion, that's a way better sendoff than a sermon.

Triela

Oh Noah, I'll remember to try to celebrate my next relative's "Birthday party". Since I know that they wouldn't mind one bit.

:) Thanks for the unknowing pep-talk Noah-boy.

Chelsie

"Oh my goodness, another boy?" equals "Oh my goodness, how will you survive?" in polite person speak. I get that kind of comment often, usually when people ask me if I'm planning to have more children, just as the one I've got is rolling around on the floor or trying to climb the curtains or something equally horrifying that Ohmygod, Iswearhe'sneverdonethatbefore!

Chelsie

"Oh my goodness, another boy?" equals "Oh my goodness, how will you survive?" in polite person speak. I get that kind of comment often, usually when people ask me if I'm planning to have more children, just as the one I've got is rolling around on the floor or trying to climb the curtains or something equally horrifying that Ohmygod, Iswearhe'sneverdonethatbefore!

Stacy

When it's all said and done, we want a life well-lived with plenty of celebrations. Noah gets that, which puts him ahead of the curve, I think.

Jenn

As embarrassed as you might have been... there is something so life affirming about children at a memorial service. It gives you a moment not to think about the sad, and to think about the joy in life.
I hope there's a little boy who thinks my service is a birthday party too!

Barbara

I know you'll probably have a billion comments and not see this - but could you ask Noah a question for me if you get a chance?

I would love to know what color the version of Happy Birthday he picked out is. It made me wonder if all Happy Birthday's have the same color or if it depends on the style?

Julie W

What a timely post for me. I messed up and missed my brother's birthday yesterday. He is a cancer survivor and I just emailed the song to him. And Noah had a lovely thought...echoed by my Polish American family's wakes :)

Cassidy

I love Noah's perspective. My father has always believed that funerals/memorial services were more for the living. If one believes that, then Noah's is exactly right. It was a celebration of everyone who loved his Great-Grandma. Way to go Noah!

Sarah

Noah has pretty much described how I want my own funeral to be - like a birthday party for me even though I'm not there.

Bethany

If Noah really likes pirates, Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring (outside DC) will do (fake) sword lessons for kids during Sunday brunch. I've seen the staff who give the lessons (the head teacher is both trained in stage and sword fighting as well as being an amateur historian) and the kids seem to have a great time while the parents sip mimosas or coffee.

Amalah

Barbara - In the past, Noah has described the birthday song as red.

Our current working theory on the song/color thing is that Noah has a very, very good ear for tone and can tell what key a song is in, and assigns color based on the key. Songs in the key of C are red, E and F tend to be yellow or green, and songs in A or A minor are purple. WE THINK. That's been a pattern we've spotted, with much research, because I sure as hell can't tell what key a song is in without Wikipedia.

Janssen

What a lovely post.

And completely unrelated to the main point of your post, but in college, I worked for the sports and dance camps division of the University and we spent a lot of time researching what other colleges offered and at what price and one school really did have a pirate camp. $300 for a week.

Barbara

Thanks! That is very cool to know.

I find the whole color/song thing fascinating. I cannot wait until he is a little older and can maybe explain it to us a little better.

kellyannecat

Observations like that, about Great Grandma's Birthday party, make me think that Noah must be an old soul. What a wise little one.

kellyannecat

Observations like that, about Great Grandma's Birthday party, make me think that Noah must be an old soul. What a wise little one.

Hannah

Reading along, laughing gently, then Noah and OOOF, now my three year old wants to know why I'm crying.

What a beautiful, wonderful thought to take with me. Thank you for sharing it.

Gwen

I simply adore your family. And your stories. Seriously adore. I would like to advance order a copy of the Amalah book now. So please write it, in your infinite free time.

Amy in StL

One of my favorite stories to humiliate...I mean remind my niece of is when my mom made peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses for Xmas and she gnawed the kiss off and then tried to hand me the soggy cookie by saying, "Share." Oh, at 30 she's still a sharer all right.

chris

Noah has it right. Celebrate the life :) I'm sure his Great Grandma loved them.

 norm

Ah, I melted. Way to dissolve your mom's readers, Noah! :D

michele

You did a great job, he understood that everyone was there to celebrate Great Grandma's life and birthdays are all about celebrating life (and Zombies)- he gets it - Rock On Noah!

E @ Oh! Apostrophe

OMG Noah you make my heart hurt with how cute you are.

Jess

I never comment, because I usually have nothing to say besides, "I love your blog," and, "I just laughed so hard I choked on my cereal." and that gets old. But I love your blog. And if I'd been eating cereal just now the image of Ezra scarfing cherries before carefully putting the cookies back on the plate (Oh yeah, soooo been there in my nanny years, like, eating the candy shell off of the M&M's and putting the chocolate back in the bowl) would have had me aspirating milk.

Noah's a wise little guy. And I think he's 100% correct. Great Grandma probably had a huge smile on her face, wherever she is.

the bee

Your kids are awesome. I think it is great that the mood stayed upbeat enough that Noah pictured birthday party and not going away party. And Ezra? He just cracks me up in general.
I hope # 3 picks up teh funny gene because sometimes that is all we have.

MissAbbey

I acted in a similar way at my grandma's funeral when I was Noah's age. My mother was all upset (of course, as her mother had just died) & I kept carrying on about wanting a doughnut. My older sister, who was always a proper little lady when she was young, was horrified at my lack of decorum. I never had much decorum as a child, sadly.

Also, last year I went with my mom & aunt & 5-yr-old cousin to another aunt's memorial service. The service was held in one of those churches where they have a drum set, and as soon as it was over my cousin asked me if she could play the drums. I told her she had to ask the preacher, so she went up to him, tugged on his sleeve, and asked very politely if she could play the drums.

And I agree with everyone else, Noah is very wise. I hope my funeral is a party... I've also told one of my friends that I'm going to play "Another One Bites the Dust" at her funeral, so you can see what type of get-together I hope they have when I die.

SarahB

From the mouths of babes...that last line almost made tears explode. I say almost only because I'm at the office and exercising self-control. I would have bawled at home.

And Ezra just gave you a great tale to tell all his future girl(or boy)friends... ;^)

Rachel

Noah is awesome. =) I'm sure both kids added some needed happiness to the day. I bet great-grandma would have loved that Noah thought it was her birthday party.

Rachel

Noah is awesome. =) I'm sure both kids added some needed happiness to the day. I bet great-grandma would have loved that Noah thought it was her birthday party.

Jennifer B

I swear your kids make me cry more than my own. Good tears! Good tears!

Caroline

That is the sweetest thing ever ""I know," Noah said cheerfully. "But it's okay. We can still have fun at her birthday party. She doesn't mind.". And I'm quite sure that Great-Grandma did indeed enjoy her party.

Alicia

Isn't it amazing how kids can go 0-60 from yelling about zombie brain eating to saying something so insightful?

liz

Excuse me while I sob over that last line, there.

W

About a year and a half ago, I too spent the duration of my son's great grandmother's memorial service in an adjacent room because noisy toddler wanted to be noisy. Wish I'd had an Ipod too, would have kept him from insisting on slamming doors shut, and pulling things off tables. :P

Monica

Pirate camp is totally a thing! We're signed up for August.

Sorry you had to miss the service.

Heather

I think that's actually a pretty good way to look at it, you know? It's a celebration of someone's life. <3

Mel

My mother-in-law died in 2007 after a pretty brave 15-year cancer battle. We celebrate her birthday every year with all her favorite foods and a birthday cake. We sing with gusto when it's time, just in case she can hear.

cheken

Kids are a must-have at memorial services, I think. The zombie story will be told with laughter for years to come.

At my grandfather's wake, my 2 year old neice couldn't find my husband and I and went running up and down the aisle of the chapel yelling, "AAAABLLOOOM???? SELLLSEEE???"

Way better memory than the awkward meeting of the deceased's ex-wife and the hussy she was replaced with thirty years before.

Heather

Please. Tell Noah Thank You for the LOL. Great post for ACS, too.

Heather

Please. Tell Noah Thank You for the LOL. Great post for ACS, too.

Alberta grandma

Like our Amy who is still "in touch" with her gr grand 3yrs after passing - Noah is an old soul and he knows more than the rest of us - just go with it - you can bet gr. grandma is

niki

I know there is a pirate camp for adults here in CA.

Noah is wise: birthdays are indeed a gathering of friends and family to celebrate one's life.

We had a memorial service for my dad a couple of weeks ago, and I must say that I, too, hope he enjoyed his birthday party.

niki

I know there is a pirate camp for adults here in CA.

Noah is wise: birthdays are indeed a gathering of friends and family to celebrate one's life.

We had a memorial service for my dad a couple of weeks ago, and I must say that I, too, hope he enjoyed his birthday party.

niki

I know there is a pirate camp for adults here in CA.

Noah is wise: birthdays are indeed a gathering of friends and family to celebrate one's life.

We had a memorial service for my dad a couple of weeks ago, and I must say that I, too, hope he enjoyed his birthday party.

niki

I know there is a pirate camp for adults here in CA.

Noah is wise: birthdays are indeed a gathering of friends and family to celebrate one's life.

We had a memorial service for my dad a couple of weeks ago, and I must say that I, too, hope he enjoyed his birthday party.

Zu

Oh I feel so guilty laughing out loud at a blog post about a funeral but...Ezra and the cherries totally cracked me up. And I feel just like Noah when the Zombies eat my brains! You were just what I needed today.

Stimey

This is the best story about a memorial service ever. I'm sorry if it was rough and you and I know you guys will miss Jason's grandma. But thank you for zombies and cherries and birthday parties.

Siobhan

I can totally sympathize as I went through nearly this same experience last December. I was 7 months pregnant with my third child when my grandma died at the age of 88. I was really close to her growing up but like Jason's grandma she had dementia and hadn't really been "herself" for a number of years. Dealing with it pregnant sucked cause you're so emotional already. And everyone at the funeral kept asking me about the baby, which is nice but felt strange to be discussing baby names with an open casket in the room. Anyway, when she died my son who is Noah's age, was 4 1/2 and my daughter was nearly 3. We had to have the whole death and dying talk as my grandma lived nearby and they did see her a few times a year. She couldn't always remember whose children they were but they were very sweet to her and called her "old grandma." She lived with my aunt who was devastated when she died. We thought they understood it pretty well. Until a couple weeks later at my neice's birthday party my daughter saw my aunt and immediately asked "Where's old grandma?" My aunt then started to cry of course as I tried to gently remind my daughter that old grandma was in heaven now. It's just so hard at that age and it feels like something you don't want then to have to understand.

A few months later my mom's dog died kind of suddenly and we knew my son would be upset as he spends the night with them regularly. When we told him that Grandma's doggie had died he just thought for a minute and said "I'm really sad but old Grandma is up in heaven too and she'll take really good care of him." It was all I could do to not just burst into years at what a sweet heart my little boy has. They really have such amazing spirits and I think most of the time they understand better than we do.

Virginia

He's right, you know. She totally wanted you to have fun. :)

And there should have been more children. Our culture is so weird about Death Festivals. I hate it.

lynne

I think your boys there would have been a welcome relief even if they did make a bit of noise. My nephew Rob aged two and a bit at the time, came to my Great Aunts funeral at the house (no casket,there was no one to baby sit him. Half way through the ceremony he asked me very loudly "where's my nana?" (as in banana) which made everybody smile and prompted a few friendly words from the preacher. Death is also about life I guess. You being pregnant as well reminded people of the circle of life? I think Noah got it spot on that he was attending his great, great grand mothers birthday part.

lynne

I think your boys there would have been a welcome relief even if they did make a bit of noise. My nephew Rob aged two and a bit at the time, came to my Great Aunts funeral at the house (no casket,there was no one to baby sit him. Half way through the ceremony he asked me very loudly "where's my nana?" (as in banana) which made everybody smile and prompted a few friendly words from the preacher. Death is also about life I guess. You being pregnant as well reminded people of the circle of life? I think Noah got it spot on that he was attending his great, great grand mothers birthday part.

lynne

I think your boys there would have been a welcome relief even if they did make a bit of noise. My nephew Rob aged two and a bit at the time, came to my Great Aunts funeral at the house (no casket,there was no one to baby sit him. Half way through the ceremony he asked me very loudly "where's my nana?" (as in banana) which made everybody smile and prompted a few friendly words from the preacher. Death is also about life I guess. You being pregnant as well reminded people of the circle of life? I think Noah got it spot on that he was attending his great, great grand mothers birthday part.

AbbottAndrew

Wow! This is great. Thanks for the giveaway.

Cheryl S.

"I know," Noah said cheerfully. "But it's okay. We can still have fun at her birthday party. She doesn't mind."

Noah is absolutely right.

Plano Mom

The next time I'm desperately missing my father, now 27 years gone, I'm throwing him a Birthday Party. With cherries and zombies on top.

Marie

Too bad we have to live these kind of stories before we can tell them, but I think you all did great under the combined circumstances! Posthumous birthday parties sound excellent. And are you all really a pack of wild Unitarian hyenas? I think I love you even more.

Canadian Pharmacy

I have read the information which you have mentioned here. And I am really very glad after Reading this Post. Great Activity.

The comments to this entry are closed.