My mother is 80 today. The party wasn’t the one my sister, Sarah, and I had planned. Instead of a lunch party for 50, we had tea and cakes in Mum’s hospital room, surrounded by cards and flowers from her many well-wishers.
When she was admitted in July, there were doubts as to whether we would be having a birthday party at all. But today we celebrated two milestones.
As far as being 80 is concerned, most of the greetings card manufacturers seem to shy away from creating humourous cards for octogenarians. Perhaps they assume that one loses one’s sense of humour with age. I have news for them. Exactly twenty years ago, on her 60th birthday, Mum commented to me that she was only getting crumbly on the outside. Inside, she still felt 21.
I was 26. At the time, I didn’t understand. Now, aged 46, I am still wondering if I will ever feel “grown up”
After all, my mother is mature and sensible, simply by virtue of being my mother. That is her job. May be I beat the system. As I never had children of my own, who is to say I should ever be either mature or sensible. But I keep looking for symptoms.
The other milestone, Mum created for herself a few weeks ago. Having only recently arrived back in a private room, weak and emaciated from weeks spent in Intensive Care, her physiotherapists reprimanded her for a lack of effort. “You can’t stay here for ever”, they said. “You need a goal to aim for if you want to be strong enough to go home.” So, between them they came up with a target. On the whiteboard at the end of Mum’s bed, the physio wrote, “Goal: to be able to stand on my own on my birthday, 10th November 2009.”
Today, underneath the original message, someone had written “Achieved! Yea hey! Next goal