Last week I was off to Flo-ree-da for my mom’s 90th birthday.  It was a BIG occasion.  After all, it’s not every year that my wonderful mom turns the BIG 9-0. My sister N and nephew N and my daughter A and son D all joined in to honor mom’s birthday with a BIG celebration.

My daughter A and I took a little detour before heading to mom’s assisted living residence to spend two glorious days in South Beach at the Dream Hotel.  It was truly dreamy.  They even had Dream Water in the room to help guests have a restful sleep.  I didn’t try any relaxation water therapy, but I wrote down the website if I ever want to order any water for home use – might be good for some nights when I have menopausal insomnia.

After our mother/daughter Miami trip, A and I took a cab back to the Fort Lauderdale airport to pick up a car and pick up my son D before driving north to mom’s birthday party.

“I ordered a compact Ford Focus,” I said to the rental agent at the Budget Rental Car counter. “Sorry, no compact cars left.  But we are going to upgrade you to an SUV,” said the agent.

“What do you mean?  I don’t want an SUV,” I said rather loudly.  I’m here for my mom’s 90th birthday and she cannot climb into an SUV.  You gave my sister an SUV and now she cannot take my mother out for a ride. I need a car,” I said.

“Well, I’ll give you an upgrade to our best car. It’s a Lincoln Towncar,” said the agent.  It is a car with four doors.   “Okay, I’ll take it, I’ll take it,” I replied.

“What are you doing?” said my son D as we walked to the car.  “That car is a boat. We cannot drive a Lincoln Towncar,” said D.  “Grandma will think we are going to a funeral not her 90th birthday party.  The car is big and black.”

I walked back to the Budget counter and demanded a different car. “I cannot drive around in a big black car for my mother’s 90th birthday weekend,” I told the agent.

“Well, I’ll upgrade you to a Cadillac Escalade,” said the agent. “No, no, no,” I replied.  “I told you, no SUV.  I need a car.  Do you have any cars left in the shop?”

“Well, the only cars I have left are sports cars, either a Camaro or a Dodge Challenger…and you’ll have to pay extra,” said the agent.

By this time I was quite annoyed.  Plus, we had to get going if we were going to make it in time for the party at 3:00 p.m.  “Okay, give me the Dodge Challenger,” I said.  “Way to go mom,” said my son D.  We loaded up our luggage, revved up the engine and off to the races we went,  I mean off to the birthday party we went, in a two door, hot red sports car.

We arrived at mom’s place just in time for the party.  E, the events planner at my mom’s residence, was a pro when it came to celebrations.  “Do you want to have a really, really great 90th birthday for your mom?” she had said when I spoke to her a few weeks prior.  “Of course I want to have a really, really great 90th birthday for my mom. Why wouldn’t I want it to be a really, really great birthday?”

“Then I suggest we have some entertainment.  Do you want a singer or a comedian?” E had asked.  I chose the singer and my sister N agreed.

At 3:00 p.m. sharp there was a sitting room only crowd waiting in the living room. (All walkers were folded to allow for maximum accommodations.) Singer Jeanne arrived and belted out a bevy of show tunes and love songs to honor my mom’s nine decades.   She ended her serenade with a Peggy Lee favorite, “I’m A Woman,” and the crowd sang along.  Oh, it was so good, I feel like singing it again.  Come on and have some fun and sing along with me:

I can wash out 44 pairs of socks and have ’em hangin out on the line
I can starch & iron 2 dozens shirts ‘fore you can count from 1 to 9
I can scoop up a great big dipper full of lard from the drippins can
Throw it in the skillet, go out & do my shopping, be back before it melts in the pan
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again

I can rub & scrub this old house til it’s shinin like a dime 
Feed the baby, grease the car, & powder my face at the same time
Get all dressed up, go out and swing til 4 a.m. and then 
Lay down at 5, jump up at 6, and start all over again 
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again 

If you come to me sickly you know I’m gonna make you well
If you come to me all hexed up you know I’m gonna break the spell
If you come to me hungry you know I’m gonna fill you full of grits
If it’s lovin you’re likin, I’ll kiss you and give you the shiverin’ fits
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again 

I can stretch! a green black dollar bill from here to kindom come!
I can play the numbers pay the bills and still end up with some!
I got a twenty-dollar gold piece says there ain’t nothing I can’t do
I can make a dress out of a feed bag and I can make a man out of you
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again 
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, and that’s all. 

Wow, that was fabulous.  Don’t you feel empowered?  Oh, you want to know about the rest of the party?

Well, chef E at my mom’s assisted living residence made a delicious fruity birthday cake with pineapple filling and whipped cream frosting. Almost everyone had a slice, except for those who were diabetic, they had to have special cookies.  Then my mom blew out her birthday candle and made a birthday wish.

We spent the rest of the weekend driving around in the hot red Dodge Challenger sports car.  “It was great,” said my mom at the end of the day on Friday and at the end of the weekend too.  It truly was a best-ever birthday.

I especially love the quote in my mom’s 90th birthday card.  It is by poet Emily Dickinson and says “We turn not older with years, but new every day.”  That’s how I feel about my mom.  She may be 90 now, but she still inspires me in new ways every day.

We dropped off the hot red Dodge Challenger sportscar at the Budget rental car return and boarded the plane at 6:00 a.m. back to New Jersey on Monday morning. A and I were exhausted (D had already left on Sunday) but glad that the weekend had gone so well. “Maybe we’ll be back to celebrate grandma’s 100th birthday in 10 years from now,” said A, “That would be really fun!”