My Mom turned 77 over the weekend. I took she and Dad out for dinner Sat evening. Her favorite, shrimp. She looks great although both of them now have hearing aids and poor Dad's back is bothering him again. Looking at Dad now is not the same as even a decade ago. He made his living through physical labor and that that strength is obviously not what it used to be. So he hesitates now in conversations, especially around people who are not his family. (C & son went with me to meet them) He is polite, as always but not wanting to offend, he withdraws. Also even with the hearing aid the backround noise in the restaurant bothered him some. He later found a phone book and looked up a guy he used to work in the garage with 30+ years ago before we moved. The guy is dieing of cancer. Everyone Dad knows seems to be dead or dieing. His silence grew.
Mom has always enjoyed learning, reading, solving puzzles, playing Scrabble, engaging others in conversation. Ironically Dad was always the more outgoing but then again I always remember him either with family, at church, or at his work, all of which defined him. Mom does not speak as much as Dad in church, or even with his family, but she lights up when it is the immediate family or even with friends. I know they love each other, have been devoted to each other for most of their lives now. They have always been affectionate around us, never heard them argue once until I was an adult and that was just about Dad following (or not) too closely. They seemed ideal for each other. Still, as I gave Mom her flowers, card, balloon, and gifts I tried to think of any flowers or gifts Dad had brought her. There had been dinners, but I don't know if he had ever picked out a gift on his own for her. He would usually have one of my sisters pick out something. The one time I went with him to get Mom's gift was when he bought her a sewing machine. (Which in his defense we needed at the time and she did want one. But even at that young age I knew that was not what anyone wanted for their brithday)