Today was my grandmother's 83rd birthday.
Or so I thought.
Yesterday we made plans to spend a girly afternoon lunching and shopping, just Meema, Corrie and me.
My phone rang at mid-morning today. It was Meema, and her voice sparkled: "Guess what I gave myself for my birthday?"
"What?" I asked, hoping that she (who never splurges on herself) had really tied one on.
"Another YEAR!" she giggled. "I lay in bed this morning and realized I was born in 1927–it's my 82nd birthday, not my 83rd! I gave myself a whole year!"
Armed with that kind of good news, we headed out for our celebration, driving through the bank and pharmacy, because we know how to party. Then we headed to a little local bakery near my house. It's a small, family-owned place, only open for a few months. Their chocolate chip cookies make a girl's eyes roll back in her head, and this quaint place has quickly worked its way onto our list of favorites.
We ate and talked and laughed through our leisurely lunch. After we had finished and paid, I slipped back to the restroom, while Corrie and Meema strolled toward the car.
Or so I thought.
I came out of the restroom to find my grandmother, always quiet and gentle in everything she does, talking softly with the hard-working owner of the bakery. The woman smiled, and she reached out to touch my grandmother's arm.
As we walked on to the car, I asked her what it was all about.
"I just told her I was praying for her," Meema said. "I told her that every time I round this corner, I pray that her bakery will do well. I think it would be a hard time to start a business. I just wanted her to know I was praying for her."
She paused, and added quietly, "She said it meant a lot to her."
Of course it did. It always does, to know that someone breathes your name in prayer. I should know–Meema's prayers have carried me longer than I can remember. During some times when I couldn't even speak my own, her prayers bore me up and kept my feet moving. The bakery lady and I are blessed.
I helped Meema into the car and watched her gently pass a stick of gum to my little girl. I smiled. Meema may have found an extra year today, but I'm the one with the treasure.