Patrick sat alone in his nursing home room, reflecting on his life and feeling down that his family had seemingly forgotten his birthday. Due to his son’s inability to care for him while raising two children alone, Patrick had been living in the nursing home for some time. On top of that, his wife had left them years earlier, adding to the family’s hardships.
Suddenly, a knock interrupted Patrick’s thoughts, and his 15-year-old granddaughter, Elizabeth, and seven-year-old grandson, Dylan, burst into the room, presenting him with a cake.
With excitement and joy, they exclaimed, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA!” Patrick was overjoyed to see his grandchildren and celebrate his special day with them.
Though the cake couldn’t fit 76 candles, Dylan reassured Patrick that it was bought with love, and they began to sing “Happy Birthday” in the middle of his room.
While the visit wasn’t perfect or extravagant, it was everything Patrick could have asked for – except for his son Joseph’s absence.
After blowing out the candle, he inquired, “Where is your father?” as Elizabeth began slicing the cake.
She replied nervously, “Well…he had an unexpected business trip, so we decided to stop by. He also sends his best wishes for your birthday.”
Though uncertain if his granddaughter spoke the truth, Patrick nodded, finding her to be a friendly child. Why would she deceive him?
As they indulged in the cake, Dylan chimed in, “Grandpa, the Boston Bruins are playing tonight. Let’s watch the game together like we used to do at home!”
The elderly man beamed at the little boy and switched on the television in his room. The game was just starting, and they all sat together contentedly, watching it unfold. To Patrick, it was the epitome of a perfect evening.
Joseph burst into the room half an hour later, panting as though he had sprinted there. He glared at his two children in anger.
“ELIZABETH!” he bellowed. “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, please calm down,” Elizabeth pleaded, raising her hands.
Patrick observed his son and his granddaughter with a furrowed brow, confused by the commotion. “Elizabeth, I thought you said your father was on a business trip.”
Elizabeth lowered her hands and let out a heavy sigh. “Yes, I lied, Grandpa.”
“Why?” Patrick inquired.
“Because Dad forgot today’s date,” she confessed, surprising Patrick. Finally, everything fell into place, and for some reason, he felt an immense sense of pride in his grandchildren.
Joseph demanded to know, “What’s going on?” as he glanced back and forth between Elizabeth and Patrick.
“It’s Grandpa’s birthday, Dad! We brought him a cake!” Dylan interjected cheerfully. “And now we’re watching the game, just like we used to when he was at home.”
Joseph muttered in astonishment, “Oh.” His mouth hung open, realizing his mistake. “Dad, Jesus. I’m so sorry. I forgot.”
Patrick quickly forgave him, knowing that his son’s life was tough. The truth was, Joseph had forgotten about his father’s birthday because he had gone on his first date in a long time.
After the kids went back to watching the game, Joseph approached his father for a private conversation. “Dad, I’m sorry. I went on a date and was so nervous that I forgot about your birthday. I wish we could take you out for the rest of the evening.”
“It’s alright, son. I understand why you placed me here. It can be a hassle dealing with an older man, but I’m fine here. I just wish you guys visited more often,” Patrick replied, patting his son’s shoulder.
Just then, the night nurse entered the room and informed them that visiting hours had ended long ago. She had allowed them in only because it was Patrick’s birthday.
Dylan spoke up, asking the nurse for the address of the nursing home. “Why?” she asked, smiling.
“Because I need to know where to send my father when he’s old like grandpa,” Dylan innocently replied, unaware of the impact his words had on the adults in the room. They were all stunned, and Elizabeth scolded him while patting his arm.
Joseph looked at his son intently, realizing that Dylan was already thinking about abandoning family in old age. He couldn’t let his children think that was acceptable. “You know what? Miss, we’re taking our dad home,” Joseph declared to the night nurse.
“Oh, for how long?” she asked.
“For good,” Joseph replied. Elizabeth hugged her father tightly while Dylan jumped around the room in excitement.
Patrick was taken aback but began packing his bags with his family’s help. Joseph hired a home care specialist, and their family life became more beautiful than ever before. He realized how much the kids had missed their grandfather and how much he valued his father’s input in everything. Taking his father home was the best decision of his life.