a May birthday

Yesterday, my mom, known here as Nana, turned 84!

I had planned to take her and Paco out to supper; B had a business dinner he had to attend, so he could not join us. Unfortunately, late last week, Nana came down with a horrible chest cold and we decided that I would get takeout from the restaurant instead.

We were lucky in that her cough improved enough that she was more rested and comfortable for her birthday. She got calls from my two sisters and her three grandchildren who are stateside and a special youtube rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” from my daughter E and her husband L, who are currently visiting his family in London. There were lots of birthday cards, too.

I was happy to see that Nana had gotten some of her appetite back when I arrived with the dinners at 5:00. She and Paco really enjoyed their main course, but did save room because I had brought a surprise dessert.

I had made a side trip to one of the local Italian restaurants to buy panna cotta for Nana. They change the flavor they offer on a regular basis and the day’s offering was cappuccino with hazelnut. I hoped Nana would like it.

She did! Usually, when we get it when we dine out, she shares it with someone else, but, for her birthday, she ate it all herself! It was great to see her enjoying it, especially as her appetite had been so low the few days prior.

Just to clarify, I also brought a carrot cake for Paco and tiramisu for me, so we all had a treat.

Nana said it was one of the best birthday dinners she had had in a long time, so mission accomplished.

Best wishes, Mom, for your 85th year! Thank you for making our family what it is and for showing us that something as simple as dinner and dessert together can be a great joy!

Lava and Inside Out

In keeping with family tradition, my daughter E and I went to the movies this morning to see the Pixar film Inside Out, which premiered yesterday.

One of the many things I love about Pixar films is that there is a short before the main feature. This one is called “Lava” and is a love story – with volcanoes. E and I, sitting here in Honolulu, with our spouses thousands of miles away, both got teary. It is beautifully rendered and so touching.

Inside Out is the story of an eleven-year-old girl named Riley as she moves to San Francisco from Minnesota and what is going on inside her head, as told through her emotions, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. We also occasionally get glimpses into other characters’ emotion quintet, which is both enlightening and entertaining.

The best adjective I can come up with to describe the movie is poignant. Having once been eleven and having two daughters who were once eleven, I found myself empathizing with Riley as she tries to navigate a difficult situation. Yes, E and I did some more crying.

At the end of the credits, the filmmakers dedicate the movie to their children, asking them not to grow up, but, as E and I discussed later, that wasn’t really the point. Growing up is complicated and necessary and one’s own work and responsibility. E and I talked over lunch about how undesirable/impossible it is for parents or anyone else to make someone happy – or even to be happy a lot of the time. We were both glad that the emotion is named Joy rather than Happiness. ¬†Joy is deeper and more able to integrate with the other emotions than happiness could ever be.

Wishing you all as much Joy as possible,
Joanne