Happy 105th Birthday, Grandma Phoebe

We had an early start for Grandma Phoebe’s 105th birthday party (10AM). This was due in large part to so many folks visiting from out of town, and then having to take off pretty soon after the party (with my cousin Jenny travelling the furthest, needing to catch a flight to Shanghai later in the afternoon).

On arriving, Grandma looked pretty tired (and was asleep for part of the party’s start).

Inside, we got started on some dim sum. L to R it’s Andrew, Mia, Jasmine, and Jahnu.

Granma perked up a bit, when the food began arriving.

Later in the meal, when some of the pastries were being served.

Haley broke out Face Swap, and pretty soon everyone was in stitches.

Jasmine, swapping faces with Uncle Corky.

After the meal, everyone started to gather for family photos with Grandma. This is Jenny, taking photos of Grandma. And this is me, continuing my tradition of documenting Jenny documenting things. For as much as we dreaded photos as younger kids, we seem to be first up at these events, with our own cameras in hand.

Family photo time…

Jahnu, Jasmine, Andrew, Mia, and Dan.

Grandma, posing with the Ko family.

Me and Liz with Grandma Phoebe.

Jordan and Andrew, bringing over the birthday cake – table and all.

Jahnu and Jasmine, with their great-grandma.

Lighting up the candles. We were a shy by about 100 candles…

The great-grandkids, helping to blow out the candles.

Shane with Stacey (giving Jahnu a piggyback ride).

Grandma Phoebe, after the party.

While it was lovely to celebrate yet another milestone birthday for her, it was tough to see Grandma seemingly so far away. I tried a few times to talk to her, to wish her a happy birthday – but I think today was not one of her good days. I don’t think she recognized many of us, and maybe didn’t understand me.

Andrew told me that he had good luck with writing out English words, as a way of communicating. I’d seen my dad write out words in Chinese on a piece of paper before, which she understood and responded to. Andrew told me he used a Google Doc (and bumped up the font), as a way to talk with her.

I tried writing my name on my phone, upped the font size, and showed her – but didn’t get much of a response. It was tough to see her so distant and far away, surrounded by so many people who wanted to gather and be close to her.

I know she seemed very tired at the start, and at the very end of the party. I’m hoping that in the middle there, she was having a good time.

Mia and Jasmine, with balloons.

As we were hanging out, outside the restaurant, several cousins just loitered and continued face swapping.

Courtney and Jasmine, making their silly faces even sillier…

Back at Stacey and Shane’s house, I ended up crashing pretty hard. I closed my eyes for a few moments, and then suddenly a few hours shot by.

When I woke up, I found Liz and Jasmine working on a sewing project together. They had gone out, Jasmine picked out her fabric, and then came home to create a custom skirt.

While they were working inside, Shane was hard at work outside.

Liz, Stacey, Layla, and Koa – all admiring Jasmine’s new skirt.

Jasmine and her new skirt.

Later in the evening, we headed over to Uncle Benny and Aunt Vicky’s house.

Looking back at the house. Uncle Rudy was manning the grill, everyone mostly just hung out on the back porch for a good part of the evening. I had lots of nice conversations, and in particular got to catch up with David and Ellen – and found out more about all the really neat things they’re up to.

Inside, looking at old photos. This one was taken during a birthday for grandma/grandpa around 1981.

The large collection of photos at the Ko household.

Inside grandma’s old room, I found the photo taken during their 50th wedding anniversary.

It’s funny that even now, as an adult, I remember how much I disliked all the pomp and formality of photos back then. We kids always dreaded it, and wanted nothing to do with family photos.

Now, so many decades later, I’m happy to see snapshots from those times gone by. Perhaps that’s why I keep doing the blog thing, perhaps that’s why all of us cousins now take photos of our own. The images we capture aren’t necessarily for today, but for tomorrow – and for ten years from tomorrow.

Happy 104th Birthday, Grandma Phoebe
Happy 103rd Birthday, Grandma Phoebe
Happy 102nd Birthday, Grandma Phoebe – Part 1
Happy 102nd Birthday, Grandma Phoebe – Part 2
Happy 100th Birthday, Grandma Phoebe!

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. I did hear that later in the afternoon, back at the nursing home, she was more alert and more herself (and even complained about the food a little).

    avoision Reply

Leave A Reply