Taken for granted.
An expression that most people use to describe someone or something that was not appreciated or given the appropriate amount of gratitude.
The actual meaning of the phrase is to accept without question or objection.
The two meanings are opposite in context. Yet both meanings fit my mood this evening.
My mother celebrated her 85th birthday this past Saturday. It has been our practice to visit mom each year as close to her birthday as possible. This year we were fortunate enough for the day to land on a Saturday.
Normally we buy her a gift with a card and take her out for a nice meal somewhere and generally just hang out with her at her home. This year we chose to celebrate the day by inviting her immediate relatives who live within a relatively short drive from her home.
We called a local hotel and asked if we could hold the party in their commons area. The answer was yes as long as we understood that other hotel guests get equal access to the area. A quick and short list of potential invitees was made. Her brothers and sisters, their spouses, and children (I call them cousins) and grandchildren plus a couple of close friends who live in the same town and Beth’s parents. We called mom to let her know what we were planning and asked if she was up for it…and available.
Mom was in, we asked her what she would like for food and told her that we would provide everything. She mentioned a couple of things and we asked if she wanted an ice cream cake. Unfortunately, the local DQ is closed while constructing a new building. No ice cream cake.
Twenty-four hours later mom leaves a voice mail that she’s planning to cook a ham, potatoes, her world-famous Bridesmaid salad, and she’s baking her own birthday cake. Our only cooking job became smoking 9 pounds of pork shoulder and making pulled pork. No problem there. R Dub’s Rub was kicked into action for the first time in 2021.
However…Suddenly what we thought would be mom simply enjoying the presence of her favorite people on her special day turned into a day of her cooking for her own birthday. I was to say the least perplexed and frustrated. I’d never heard of someone cooking for their own birthday before. Not what my mind’s eye saw at all.
Mom is a child of the depression. Being frugal with money is hardwired for her generation and we were talking about catering food in. Plus, mom was the caretaker for her three youngest siblings from the age of 8. Doing the heavy lifting is also hardwired.
However, this is mom’s day. If this is what she wants, then this is what we will do. Beth and I will provide pork, buns, soft drinks, potent potables, cups, plates, plastic ware, and the guests. Our good friend Keith provided a fabulous appetizer that he saw on the Food Network show Pioneer Woman and we are set.
Every person on the list attended plus a couple of happy extras. Awesome. The day went better than I could’ve expected. As you can see by the smile on mom’s face, she greatly enjoyed the day.
So…why is this post about being taken for granted?
Good question. At sometime during the weekend I turned to Beth and reflected that I could never remember attending a party that was specifically thrown for mom. I’d attended and planned celebrations for dad and for their wedding anniversaries, but never one just for mom. It was possible that her brothers and sisters had thrown one for her on a year that I couldn’t get back, but I could not remember that either.
After the party, the subject came up with or by mom. I forget. She confirmed that this was her FIRST birthday party…EVER.
That word is correct…EVER.
My mother, the second oldest of 8 children, experienced her first ever birthday party at the tender age of 85.
Hence the title Taken For Granted.
My mother and everything she may want for herself is accepted by me unconditionally, yet until Saturday I had never given her the gratitude extended that a birthday celebration would provide.
This revelation was humbling. Plus, I had a twinge of guilt. She certainly provided plenty of birthday parties for me and my brother when we grew up.
Also taken for granted this weekend by me was Beth. As I look back at the weekend’s pictures, there is not one with her in it. Beth is the person who suggested the party and spent as much time or more planning as I did. She was my rock for staying on course and making sure that every box we planned was checked off.
R Dub has plenty to learn about being aware of those he cares the most about. I’m a work in progress even as I approach the milestone of 60 years old. But…that’s for a different post.