Today is my mom's birthday -- she would have been 100 years old. There was a time when I thought she would easily make it to this birthday. What a celebration we would have had! Believe me, Mom would have made sure of that.
For the last decade or more, her birthday celebration has consisted of a big meal out on the town with as many relatives as could make it. For several years she made a point of being in Ocean City, her favorite place. One year, we treated her dinner at the Olive Tree (we had to wait about two hours; agony!). Another year we had a fairly mediocre brunch at Jordan's Rooftop Inn; afterward, we gathered on thte rooftop and had a family picture taken. Another year we went to Harpoon Hanna's.
On her 90th birthday, we had a smallish (eight? ten? I've forgotten) gathering at Mrs. K's Toll House, a fine dining restaurant where my nephew worked. My Aunt Ruth was at that one; she was 93 at the time and still cookin' along.
Mom was a little miffed when my grandniece got married on her birthday, but she got over it (mostly).
On her 98th birthday, a whole bunch of us took her to a fancy schmancy inn for dinner. She ate very little -- pronouncing her very tender ribeye steak "as tough as a goat" -- but she drank a glass of wine and she reveled in her presents and she enjoyed herself to the hilt.
I asked her later on how she liked her party, and she said, "It was just what I wanted." And that, my friends, is a very good thing to have, on your last birthday in this world.