Patrick was sitting in his nursing home alone when his granddaughter and grandson surprised him with a visit. Their father, Joseph, was noticeably absent. But he showed up in anger only to discover why his children had decided to see their grandfather that day and learned something important.
Patrick sat alone in his room thinking about life and feeling sad that his family had not remembered his birthday. He was living in a nursing home because his son could not care for him while working and raising two kids independently. His wife left them several years earlier, and things were hard for the family.
There was a knock at the door, and suddenly, Patrick’s 15-year-old granddaughter Elizabeth and seven-year-old grandson Dylan burst into the room with a cake.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA!” they yelled in unison, and Patrick couldn’t have been more delighted to see them.
“We’re so sorry, Grandpa. We couldn’t fit 76 candles on this tiny cake. But we bought it with love. Because we love you so much, Grandpa!” Dylan exclaimed, and they started singing happy birthday in the middle of his room.
It wasn’t perfect or fancy, but Patrick couldn’t have asked for more. Except, his son from him, Joseph, was not there with his kids from him.
“Where’s your dad?” he asked once he had blown out the candle, and Elizabeth started cutting some pieces of cake.
Huh…,” she began nervously. “He had a business trip at the last minute. So we decided to come by. He sends you a happy birthday, too.”
Patrick said, unsure if his granddaughter was telling the truth, but she was a friendly kid. Why would she lie?
They started eating the cake when Dylan spoke up. “Grandpa, the Boston Bruins are playing tonight. Let’s watch the game together like we used to do at home!”
The older man smiled at the little kid and turned on the television in his room. The game was in its first period, and they all sat together watching it happily. It was his definition of the perfect evening.
About a half-hour later, Joseph burst into the room, and it seemed like he had run all the way there. He was breathless and looked at his two children of him in anger.
“ELIZABETH!” I have yelled. “You can’t just leave the house without telling me first! A note on the fridge is not enough! What are you two doing here? And at this hour no less?”
“Dad, calm down,” Elizabeth soothed, with her hands raised.
Patrick stared at his son and looked at his granddaughter with a frown, not understanding what was going on. “Elizabeth, I thought you said your father was on a business trip.”
Elizabeth lowered her hands and sighed heavily. “Yeah, I lied, Grandpa.”
“Because Dad didn’t remember today’s date,” she continued, surprising Patrick. But everything finally made sense, and for some reason, he was incredibly proud of his grandchildren.
“What’s going on?” Joseph demanded to know, looking back and forth between Elizabeth and Patrick.
“It’s Grandpa’s birthday, Dad! We brought him a cake!” Dylan chimed in happily. “And now we’re watching the game! Like we did when he was at home.”
“Oh,” Joseph muttered, his mouth open in surprise. “Dad, Jesus. I’m so sorry. I forgot.”
Patrick forgave him quickly because he knew that his life was hard, and the truth is that Joseph forgot about his birthday because he went on his first date in a long time.
The kids went back to watch the game, and Joseph pulled his father aside for a private talk. “I’m sorry, Dad. I went on a date, and I was so nervous that I forgot. I wish we could take you out for the rest of the evening.”
“Son, it’s ok. I understand why you placed me here. It’s a hassle dealing with an older man, but I’m fine here. I just wished you guys visited more often,” Patrick expressed, patting his son’s shoulder.
Suddenly, the night nurse stepped into the room and told them that visiting hours were over long ago. They only let them in because it was Patrick’s birthday.
“Excuse me, miss!” Dylan spoke up.
“And it is?”
“Can you give me the address of this place?” I have asked.
“Of course. Why?” she said with a huge smile.
“Because I need to know where to send my father when he’s old like grandpa,” Dylan said innocently, But he had no idea what the adults in the room thought of his words. They were all shocked, and Elizabeth scolded him with a small pat on her arm.
“Shut up,” she told her little brother. But Joseph was looking at his son intently. He had no idea that Dylan thought about that stuff already. He could be stuck in this nursing home in the future after the example he had provided for his children from him. He couldn’t let his kids think abandoning family was alright.
The nurse looked awkwardly around the room and wanted to leave, but Joseph called out to her. “You know what… Miss, we’re taking our dad home,” Joseph told the night nurse.
“Oh, for how long?”
“For good,” Joseph stated, and Elizabeth hugged her father fiercely while Dylan jumped happily around the room.
Patrick was shocked but started packing his bags with the help of his family.
Joseph hired a home care specialist, and their family life was beautiful. He realized how much the kids had missed their grandfather and how much he valued his father’s input from him in everything. It was the best decision of his life for him.
What can we learn from this story?
- Treat others the way you want to be treated, especially family. While placing your elderly in a nursing home is not a bad thing, it’s better to keep them at home if you’re able.
- Learn from your kids. Sometimes, your kids can teach you the most critical lesson like Dylan did with just a few words.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a man who asked his son to take him to a nursing home instead of staying with the family.
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